Lots of Amazing Experiences in Campina Grande
Arian Taniwall, a fourth-year student of General Medicine, spent his summer internship in Brazil. He sends an essay and pictures.
In August of 2019, I participated in a clinical IFMSA exchange in a Brazilian city called Campina Grande. The city is located in the north-eastern region of Brazil with a population of about 350 000. The exchange took place at the university hospital Alcides Carneiro.
As soon as I arrived in Brazil, I immediately noticed the hospitality of Brazilians. I remember how a stranger who did not speak English still tried his very best to help me with directions at the airport. Brazilians rarely speak English so I had problems with communication at the beginning of my exchange. Eventually, I found students and doctors who spoke English and could translate for me. I'm still grateful for all the help I had. I wouldn't have been able to get through the exchange without it.
On a daily basis, we would attend to the patients and discuss the cases with the doctors. I have visited a few different departments over the month, which were pneumology, cardiology, and general surgery. This exchange allowed me to observe a spectrum of surgeries, from removal of a nevus for aesthetic purposes to a gastrectomy in a gastric cancer patient. I was also able to improve my clinical skills by performing physical examinations and suturing simple surgical wounds.
Since Campina Grande is a smaller city, there were only two other exchange students. This did not stop us from having lots of amazing experiences. The people of the local university were extremely helpful and tried their best to coordinate meetings every week, where we could taste some of the local cuisine or learn Brazilian dance styles. The other exchange students and I organised trips during the weekends to bigger cities of the north-eastern region such as Recife and João Pessoa.
I completed my stay in Brazil by visiting the one and only Rio de Janeiro.
Overall, I would definitely recommend IFMSA exchange to anyone who wants to broaden their horizons as a human, gain valuable knowledge for future practice in healthcare and get out of their comfort zone to learn about culture on the other side of the planet.