This past winter break I was fortunate enough to be accepted into a fellowship program with the Atlantis Project to shadow doctors abroad on the beautiful island of Faial, Azores. This was definitely an experience of a lifetime – not only did I get to immerse myself into the Azorean culture, but I got the opportunity to experience first hand European healthcare.
Below are 6 things I learned while interning abroad!
1.) Portuguese is NOT Spanish
Whoever said that Portuguese and Spanish are very similar lied, because well, in my opinion, they’re not. Portuguese is a combination of Italian, Spanish and French and it’s spoken in a type-Russian accent. However I did manage to pick up some on some phrases while I was there like…
“Obrigada” – Thank You
“De nada”- You’re welcome
“Bom dia” – Good Morning
“Bom tarde” – Good Afternoon
“Eu não falo Português” – I don’t speak Portuguese
“Você fala Inglês” – Do you speak English?
“Eu amo as crianças” – I love the kids! (lol)
You’d be surprised how far I got with these phrases.
2.) Basically every “mountain” you see is a volcano
You think I’m joking… while I was in Horta I hiked up 3 inactive volcanoes last one erupted around 1958 … I think. I actually slid down the side of a volcano a few times, but it was nothing laughter and smiles lol. Let’s just say I haven’t had adventurous days like those since I went to sleep away camp back in 2006.
3.) The key to taking an artsy pic is never to show your face.
I’m being so serious… this picture probably wouldn’t have been the same if my face was shown. You can just focus the beauty of the waves crashing into the rocks.
4.) Wine is the reason why everyone looks 10 years younger than they actually are.
The Portuguese enjoy their wine very much! And while I was in Portugal I noticed that everyone looked to be very young, but they actually weren’t. Maybe it’s the easier way of life in Portugal or maybe it’s something in the wine… the world will never know.
5.) Dr. Mariella is Goals
So everyone knows that the doctors IRL are nothing like the doctors on Grey’s Anatomy or House M.D and usually have no sense style and no life. Well Dr. Mariella defies all bad stereotypes about doctors. You probably don’t know who Dr. Mariella so this is her in a nutshell, she’s effortlessly gorgeous, has an impeccable taste in clothes and she’s one hell of a doctor. I literally aspire to be just like her one day! (You think I’m joking) Not only did I learn a lot about internal medicine, but I learned a lot about her and why she became a doctor!
6.) SURGERY IS ACTUALLY THE BEST THING EVER!
My 2 rotations in the operating room had to be the best thing ever! Before interning in Portugal I’d never seen a surgery, and after now watching about 20 of them I think I may have found my calling.
Before going to Portugal, I was lost. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, whether I still wanted to pursue medicine as a career, but after just a short 3 weeks I feel more motivated than ever! It was an amazing experience that I will never forget!