At the end of each exchange, we encourage students to write about their experiences – both for their own reflection and to inspire others.

On this page you will find a few excerpts of exchange reports from our UK outgoing students. If you’d like to read more, you can find exchange reports from students all over the world through the IFMSA database.

If you’ve been on an exchange and want to let us know about it, we would love to hear from you- just fill out this form!

South America

Neurosurgery – Pouso Alegre, Brazil

“Clinical experience in the hospital was very good. Lots of teaching every day, lots of exposure to patients, lots of opportunity to get ‘hands on’ (take histories, examine, assist in surgery, perform practical procedures e.g. lumbar punctures which I had little opportunity to practice in the UK). I got to do a programme relevant to the speciality I am most interested in which really helped make it a valuable learning experience.”

Great just to see a whole different approach to medicine and compare the differences in the healthcare systems between the UK and Brazil. I’ve returned with a new enthusiasm for our profession and an appreciation for the fact that medicine is a global profession – I can take my skills anywhere in the world (and now have contacts in other countries too!)

Organisation was smooth from start to finish, I didn’t really have to put in much work myself organising things. My host was absolutely fantastic. I really couldn’t have imagined a nicer guy to stay with. Everyone else (other DENEM committee members, Brazilian medical students in general and the staff in the hospital) were extremely friendly and helpful while I was out there. I genuinely had one of the best times of my life – the whole trip was fun from start to finish”

Neurosurgery – Goiana, Brazil

“Highlights – Watching DBS surgery for Parkinson’s, the tutor and the residents, the host, his family and the rest of the IFMSA society in Goiania – I was taken care of more than I could have hoped for.”

Obstetrics – Santos, Brazil

“I so enjoyed meeting new people from across different parts of the world and travelling to beautiful places and cities at the weekend. In terms of the placement, I loved being able to observe C-sections and natural deliveries – such a special experience!”

Neonatal Medicine – Pelotas, Brazil

“I met some amazing students and professors at the hospital who were all very helpful. Three words to describe the exchange are – eye-opening, rewarding and enjoyable”

Europe

Paediatrics – Graz, Austria

“Great place and friendly atmosphere. Docs were mostly interested in you and were happy to explain things. The local committee was well-organised and I had a fun time. In three words the exchange was international, inspirational and unforgettable”

Obstetrics and Gynaecology – Rijeka, Croatia

“The National Social Programme was a four-night trip with exchanges from all the IFMSA cities in Croatia so there were over 80 of us altogether. We visited Zadar, Split, and various national parks over Croatia, went out in the evenings and visited cities during the day. It was AMAZING and a great way to explore the country and make loads of friends!”

“Our money paid went very far – we were given free bus travel all over the city, 2 tasty meals a day, and accommodation.”

Emergency Medicine – Brno, Czech Republic

“Highlights – Meeting amazing people from around the world – really enjoyed interacting with people from different cultures, backgrounds, experiences. The surgical suturing course and the other activities part of the social programme! Presenting a case report and listening to other people’s case reports. The opportunity to experience healthcare in a different country”

Thoraco-vascular surgery – Griefswald, Germany

“Highlights – Being able to attend and assist in surgeries every day was amazing! Traveling to different cities and around the region every weekend – Hamburg is a great city! Meeting people from all over the world through the IFSMA group. Making friends with some lovely German medical students – already planning a visit with them to the UK next year!”

Oncology – Msida, Malta

“The consultant I had was fantastic. Really engaging and made you feel part of the team. All the doctors I met were really nice and friendly. They all made an effort to get to know me. In three words, the exchange was creative, inspiring and challenging.”

“The oncology consultant was a great teacher and attending his clinics was a great learning experience. The team on the oncology ward were very welcoming and made us feel part of the team early on! I had plenty of opportunity to practise cannulation and taking blood The consultant also gave us plenty of time off to enjoy Malta! There were a lot of other exchange students (70), so there were plenty of people to meet. We stayed with other exchange students in a flat. That was great as it allowed us to form close relationships with other exchange students. Malta is such a tourist destination, so there was plenty to do in the afternoons and evenings. In three words the exchange was fun, interesting and sunny!”

Cardiology – Porto, Portugal

“Porto is a great city to live in for a month. It is beautiful, the people are very friendly, it is small enough that you can feel you know it well in a short time. Accommodation was shared and basic but had everything required. Location was brilliant – could walk everywhere in the city from there. Social programmes were well organised and there were plenty of people to meet and were generally a good atmosphere. There were around 20 or so of us from all over the world. A good number of people given the amount of time we were there. This meant we could do things together without too much trouble. The best element was probably the other people on the exchange, interesting and kind people all brought a different perspective and we gelled well as a group.” 

The hospital was great and I spent my time between Internal medicine and Anaesthetics. During the internal medicine placement, I did miss out on large elements because of my poor portuguese. This would really just be a piece of advice to avoid general med placements unless your language skills are near fluent. Portuguese is not an easy language to pick up!”

General Surgery – Umea, Sweden

“We did a lot of outdoor activities: rock climbing, hiking, river rafting- the social program and LEO were excellent. I got to experience a lot of surgery as well as clinic time. I have made new friendships from all over the world and got to learn a lot about other people’s countries and cultures. The Swedish doctors were very welcoming and very eager to teach me.”

Africa & Eastern Mediterranean

General Surgery – Accra, Ghana

“The bedside teaching sessions were really interesting and the professors were very good. Being able to see the importance of clinical signs instead of using tests (because of cost) was also really refreshing and made what I learned earlier in the year feel more applicable. The travelling aspect was also amazing and I think we managed to cover all the areas of Ghana I originally wanted to visit by the end of the month. The people of Ghana are also really friendly and trustworthy, I felt surprisingly safe the majority of the time.”

Paediatrics – Bethlehem, Palestine

“I was based at a Caritas Baby Hospital, in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. An NGO-run specialist Paediatric hospital. It dealt with the most challenging and difficult Paediatric cases of Palestine and therefore the patients included local Palestinians, Bedouins and also refugees from neighbouring conflict areas such as Gaza and other parts of the former British Mandate of Palestine (now Israel).

I shared an apartment with several other IFMSA students in downtown Bethlehem only a few minutes walk from Manger square and the Church of Nativity; the supposed birthplace of Jesus Christ.”

To continue reading this full exchange report, click here.

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