I spent my summer exchange at pediatric surgery in Pavia, Italy. The exchange was completely different than expected, but all in all it was different in a good way. I really enjoyed my stay at the department of pediatric surgery. Normally, exchange students and even Italians complain about clerkships in Italy, but this one was really an exception. First thing that happened when I arrived to the hospital was the surgeons offered me a cup of coffee. Then they showed me around, introduced me to others and took me to the operating theatre. The anesthesiologists and other members of the staff were very nice, too. Those who spoke English were trying to explain to me everything they were doing. Those who did not speak English were talking to me in Italian, but were very patient about my poor language skills, or we simply communicated with a lot of Italian gestures. So basically, even though we did not really understand each other, it was at least funny and cute. Every morning we went to the operating theatre. Every day there were different types of interventions – ORL, orthopedics, urology,…I could choose in which operating room I wanted to be and with whom. They often suggested us which interventions were interesting to see. In the afternoon I stayed for the consultations which I liked even more. I got to examine the patients as well and I discussed the cases with the doctors. There were again different consultations concerning either urology or GIT, general, USG… Normally they did not expect me to stay in the afternoon, so when they saw I was interested in what they were doing, they appreciated it and got even nicer. After a month we really created a special bond. Imagine starting every morning with a cup of amazing Italian coffee in a small kitchen with other surgeons, talking about patients, but also about our personal lives. You really could feel the bond they had and they made me a part of it. They even invited me for a dinner and after the month, when I was saying goodbye, they hugged me and kissed me on the cheeks. I have never experienced anything like that during any clerkships. As for the city of Pavia, it kind of sucked. It’s a student city, so normally it’s very vibrant but during July the students are either at home already or they are preparing for their exams, so basically you have nothing special to do there. When we asked an Italian student to give us advice where to go dancing, he mentioned one bar and that was it. He literally said: – It’s July, everyone has left. Everyone except mosquitos, which were everywhere and in abundance. Normally, when you pass by the people in the night in the city center you smell different perfumes, in Pavia, you smell different repellents… Concerning the social program, it was again a disappointment. The students from LC had their exam period, so they did not have time to go out with us, or to organize anything. So it was completely up to us – incomings to organize the trips, the nights out… In the end, I cannot complain, because we had a lot of fun together. We even got together with Erasmus students who were in Pavia and who were bored as well, so we created a nice big group of people and we were meeting almost every night. There were different dorms in which incomings stayed. In this case I was really lucky. I stayed in the newest and the fanciest dorm in Pavia, not far from the hospital. I had breakfast, lunch and dinner there and I could choose from at least four options every day. I had a single room with a bathroom and our rooms got cleaned every week. Only two of us incomings stayed in this dorm. We even got invited to a private dorm event for graduates who were staying there. There was the head of the dormitory, deans from different faculties and other important guests. We had an amazing dinner and then there was a garden party. It was really a big surprise for us. However other incomings stayed in dorms in which they had to share rooms, or where they did not have food for free like we did. To sum it up, despite few problems like mosquitos or no social program (from the part of LC), I really had a great time with amazing people, doctors, food and coffee. I have learned a lot and I have experienced a lot and I surely recommend it.

Claudia Krajčíková