I Expected to Watch Cosmetic Surgeries, but...


Marine Sindt, a sixth-year student of General Medicine, spent her summer internship in Taipei, Taiwan. Read her essay and see photographs.

Banner photo: All of the July IFMSA students and their contact people from the Fu Jen University in Taipei.

Marine Sindt.
Photographs on this page: Archive of M. S.

Having already done one IFMSA exchange in Morocco during my fourth year, I was much more prepared and informed about the application process this time. I had spent the previous year attending many fun IFMSA events and taking part in the Babel language exchange, which allowed me to accumulate points. This meant that when the exchanges were distributed in January, I was able to get my first choice country: Taiwan! I couldn't wait to be there!

I chose to go during the summer months, a bit of a risky decision considering it is typhoon season; thankfully I only experienced one typhoon, which passed by very quickly, during my stay! I arrived a little earlier than the start date of my internship, which allowed me to visit some of the amazing sights Taiwan has to offer: the temples, the mountains, the waterfalls, the sunsets, and of course, the shopping districts!

Once the internship started, I was working in one of the smaller hospitals in Taipei, which meant that the professors and doctors had more time to show me all their interesting cases. In gynecology I was lucky enough to watch most of the deliveries that occurred during my two week stay, the doctors explained to me very early on that there simply weren't that many deliveries planned in August, it was too hot! So I spent a lot of time in the OR instead, watching both pelvic reconstruction surgeries and laparoscopic gynecological surgeries. The doctors and Taiwanese students were always helpful in explaining the cases and procedures, especially when the documents were written in Chinese.

For my last two weeks of internship I was placed in plastic surgery where I had expected to watch cosmetic surgeries. How wrong I was... as it turns out, plastic surgery in Taiwan encompasses a very wide range of surgeries including road accidents, amputations, and debridement in gangrene, tattoo removal, facial reconstruction surgeries and many more. Once again the doctors, professors and students were always ready to explain the procedures and help me understand despite the language barrier.

Throughout the four weeks of internship, the other IFMSA students and I spent many evenings living the Taiwanese way of life. We would try strange foods at the night markets (squid on a stick, chicken butt on a stick and many more foods on a stick...), go for karaoke, to the beach, shopping, or hiking. The people that we met at the hospital and from the university were always happy to share good places to eat out; in the end there wasn't enough time to try everything, but we certainly did our best!

Overall this experience was a wonderful mix of culture shock and discovery. I made some great friends, ate some amazing food and learnt a lot. I highly recommend the IFMSA exchanges to anyone who is interested in discovering other countries.

Examples of Taiwanese foods

Vytvořeno: 18. 2. 2019 / Upraveno: 12. 2. 2024 / Mgr. Petr Andreas, Ph.D.