Over this summer with 2 other girls from our University, I completed the internship in the Egyptian city of Sohag which is a small non-touristic city approximately in the middle of Egypt on the river Nile. We were accommodated at a boardinghouse that we shared with other girls and doctors. Due to the fact that the house was built and furnished in a typical Egyptian style, we could experience how people truly live in this country away from tourist resorts and hotels. For what I was also grateful for was that the house was only 5 minutes the from our hospital and our partner University which allowed us some precious extra time in the mornings.
The hospital, where we worked, was a state one. We were at the Plastic Surgery Department – BurnsUnit. Everything in the hospital was very different from our Slovak normal. It was an excellent experience. To start with, it was not about administration so much like it is in Slovakia which meant that doctors could focus more on their patients. Apart from that, a list of patients waiting for a surgery was on the wall in the middle of a hall of the Surgery Department and a doctor simply wrote the order of patients with a pen. No computer systems needed, a pen and a paper is enough there. However, not everything was ideal. There were no placesfor relatives of patients to rest. Therefore,these people had no other choice but to wait on the stairs and before the hospital without a chance to find anempty chair or a bench to sit on because there were not any.
One may think that with the lack of modern technology and equipment the atmosphere among doctors must be quite tense and unpleasant. Surprisingly, that was not the case at all. Doctors were very friendly and kind to us. We could assist them during surgeries, and they were very helpful. The operations were interesting with the most common ones being plastic surgeries of burns and keloid scars, broken noses, stiches of open wounds etc. During the whole operation, there was a very good atmosphere, the doctorswere laughing and talking to each other as good friends. It was apparent that they were enjoying their work. The majority of doctors were young people shortly after their University studies and they were in a residential program (which is something like our “atestácia“)focusing on a specialization in one of the departments that they had chosen.
Finally, I can´t forgetto share with you my memories of some incredible trips that we took. We tried to experience the country from various perspectives. Therefore, we started with some sightseeing in Aswan and Luxor, which are beautiful cities and definitely worth visiting especially for those who enjoy immersing oneself in a local history. Next, we went to a national meeting of all medical students in Egypt in July which was in the Siwa oasis. As you can guess from the name, it was an absolutely stunning place and a wonderful event. The last holiday we were at wasin Dahab. This is a very touristic and still a beautiful city. On the way back we stayed in Cairo for a few days and visited the pyramids, one of the seven wonders of the world. It was breathtaking! And at least for me experiences like holding a crocodile in the village of Nubiana, riding a camel, riding in the desert on a qual bike, sailing on the Nile, sunset in the desert, hot air ballooning, visiting temples, meeting the Dean of the medical faculty and many more have helped me to see what a wonderful time we can have when we are willing to risk our comfort and set out to unknown adventures.
To sum up, I can only say that it was much greater experience than I could have imagined. It was my first foreign internship and I certainly hope not the last one. I am very grateful for this opportunity. So, if you are not sure whether to go or not, I am sure you should go and you will notregret it!
I would like to thank all those who made this internship possible, mainly my parents for their support, the girls for the great friendship, the boys in Sohag for their time and a great social program. A special thanks belongs to Zuzana Velická our LEOin for her patience and professionality when dealing with important people and finally also to one IFMSA for the mediation of the internship.