Since the time I have heard about IFMSA Professional Exchange on the Fresher’s day, I was dreaming about taking part in it. Last year, I chose Italy for my exchange stay. After this stay in August, I can honestly say that it has been the best month of my life. I am very grateful that I could stay in wonderful Catania. With the population of around 320,000 inhabitants, it is the second largest city of Sicily after Palermo. Catania is located on the east coast facing the Ionian Sea. I really appreciate, that I got a chance to be at the Neurosurgery Department. It was a very valuable experience for me to spend time with one of the best professors of Neurosurgery in Italy, all doctors, nurses and other staff. Everybody was always keen to help me with explanation of neurosurgery cases. I have seen surgeries which are impossible to observe as a 4th year student at my University. I have brought home not only great clinical and theoretical experience from Neurosurgery Department, but also an enthusiasm and great Italian energy, which I have always admired. I wish we could have so good atmosphere in OR as they have. Therefore I am thankful for this great experience. All of the exchange students stayed together in one dormitory near the centre of Catania. There were nicely furnished twin bedrooms with private bathroom and balcony. We had lots of optionsfor socializing in dormitory. For example; common rooms, seminar room with piano and the best one – rooftop with spectacular views of Catania. I cannot describe how I appreciate our Italian team, who took care of us and prepare social program during our stay. They were amazing! They were always ready to help us with everything we wanted. Every weekend they organized stunning trips and sightseeing around Sicily. We also had theme parties such as Toga party, Pirates party or National food and drink party. In addition to that, they provided seminar with RedCross. During my stay, I met around seventy students from all around the world, who became my friends. It was the best group I have ever had, and I am lucky to be a part of it. We have so many unforgettable memories together. My peers taught me about their cultures and traditions which helped me to better understand differences between other countries and cultures which are very important to my future role as a doctor.

Lobíková