SMS Unicamp received medical student from Leipzig University, Germany
The 7th semester medical student Iris Zeller, from Leipzig University, Germany, did an observational internship at the School of Medical Sciences (SMS) of University of Campinas (Unicamp) from January to April 2020. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the student Iris had to anticipate her return to her home country, but she describes her experience below:
“When I searched for an university to do an exchange semester in Brazil, it was easy for me to decide for University of Campinas (Unicamp) because I had already heard many goodthings not only of the medical school and hospital, but also of the life on and off campus.I was very surprised and relieved how fast I could organize the exchange. I simply wrote an e-mail to professor Gustavo P. Fraga, who is responsible for exchange students at the School of Medical Sciences (SMS), explaining I would like to come to Brazil and attend classes with the forth year of the medical course. Without hesitation, Prof. Gustavo organized a wonderful schedule for me.
"On the day I arrived in Campinas I met up with him and he showed me the hospital, a little bit of the campus and the place I had to be on the first day of class. After this, everything went on its own. In the first three months I would attend classes in surgical disciplines, which was a great experience for me, because not only did we learn about different kind of surgeries theoretically, but we also had many practical lessons. We practiced inserting chest drainages in pigs, did anastomoses in the intestines of rabbits, tried different techniques of hiding big injuries like a plastic surgeon on tongues of bulls. And that were only the first two weeks!
"After that, we had classes in the hospital. We were divided into smaller groups of about ten students and rotated through the different surgical wards. We accompanied many kinds of surgeries, postoperative consultations and weekly meetings of doctors to discuss interesting cases.
"Although at first, I only spoke a very broken Portuguese, I had no trouble connecting to other students, because they all were so open, nice and always talked to me what made me feel very welcome. They helped me with everything, from following and understanding the lectures to getting to know the campus and the city and making sure that I am getting home safely after the Choppadas (parties). They also offered me a lot of extracurricular activities I could be part of, which lead to me playing in the handball team of the medicine students, which was fantastic. We trained three times a week and although I have never had played handball before and was not great at it, my teammates always let me participate in competitions and made me feel like being a part of the team.
"But not only the people were great. I loved being on the huge campus and discovering new things. Near the main canteen, on the Ciclo Básico, there is a street market twice a week where my friends and I got many fantastic cakes and I tried a lot of different delicious typical Brazilian sweets. On evenings, I also could watch the sun set over the whole city from the campus.
"What impressed me the most about the life on campus was the interaction between the students and the professors. They always seem to be on a par with each other and I have got the feeling that the professors are not only interested in teaching you the disciplines but also in getting to know you on a personal sometimes even friendship basis.
Unfortunately, I could not finish my semester as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic but I am very thankful for the time I spent at Unicamp and I`am looking forward to go back to Brazil one day and maybe even work at the hospital for some time”, said Iris Zeller.