Rana Basara, Türkei

01.12.2013 Hello! I am Rana. I am medicine student in Dokuz Eylül Universty in İzmir. I started to fourth year.

Sunday 14 July, I  took the bus from Basel to Freiburg. After one hour I met with Gözde and Anna. Weather was quite cold and every restaurant and market was closed. We went to my flat. Anna gave me her bike and I was so glad.They gave a lot of information about Freiburg, Freiburg Universty and internship. I was determined to go to Freiburg University with Anna the next morning. And then they left. In my flat, there were three other students: Julia, Carmen and Lucie. My flatmates were really friendly and lovely. During the rest of that Sunday I took a little biketour through Freiburg.

The next morning Anna and went to University by bike The first partof my clinical elective I spent in cardiovascular surgery. I was quite excited.. After I met with the assistant I joined the regular visit. There were meetings at 7.30 o’clock everday, which I joined as well. The assistant explained for me everything in English. I left from hospital at 3-4 p.m. The first thing that caught my attention was that everybody was so well dicsiplined. The hospital was so clean and everything was executioned with system. So my first day was really enjoyable.

The second day  I could join a by-passs surgery  and so I watched  my fist operation. The surgery  took a long time. Stopping and starting of the heart was something new and amazing for me. In between the surgeons explained some details of the operation for me in English. The following days, I joined various operations and sometimes I even had the chance to assist  I got really interested in surgery, and though that I might become a surgeon. Therefore this internship was very useful for me.

After two weeks  cardiovaskular surgery internship I started to work in a social project for homeless people. The center opened from 7 until 12 am. Homeless people had breakfast, coffee, tea, some cakes. They had the chance to take a shower, and they could choose some close from those which had been donated. Several volunteers were to assisting the staff. Twice a week doctors and nurses came for a few hours to give medical aid. There were a lot of homeless that people who had very interesting storys. Some of them even had graduated and a doctor’s degree, and they were able to use internet and emails to find a job. But, however, to get a job was so hard for them,. Before my internship in this center, I had thought they were all ignorant .I did not expect them to speak English. But actually many of the homeless were well educated, polite and able to speak English. That was a surprise for me. Everybody met with me and tried to speak English. Sometimes I talked and listened to their story. I took interest to their life story as much as they did to my life. And they never forgot to say “please” before asking for something. These experiences had changed my mind about homeless people, I started to think different.  My outloook on life changed, and I understood  the value of  the things I have.

The people I work with were so tolerant and altrustic. But unfortunately I had one bad experience. One day,  while I was serving breakfast, one of the homeless became angry when he could not find the butter and began to shout. I was really scared, the more that I did not understand anything he screamed in german. A woman I work with tried to appease him, but without result. The enraged homeless took a plate, threw it into her face and then escaped. My colleague’s face was covered with blood, and I was so scared and I did not know what to do. The ambulance and the police were called. But my colleague’s  injury was not  severe, just her eyebrow had to be stitched. The Police asked some questions. Everyone of the staff was  really suprised, such an attack happened for the first time. The Police took me to my flat, from where i could call Gözde. We met to talk about this situation, and when I learnt, that the man had been arrested  the same day, I was relieved. But nevertheless, I could not continue this internship. When staff members of the center wanted to talk to me I went there together with Gözde because I needed some help with the translation and also I still was scared. The colleagues understood well how shocked I was. They assured me time and again, how sorry they felt, that I was not responsible and that they could well understand my fears.  They well understood, that I couldn’t finish my internship in the center, and I was grateful for  kindness and sympathy. I expressed my gratitude and said that something like this attack could happen in Turkey as well. The remaining days I used to explore Freiburg and some surrounding landscapes, together with friends or alone.

After a beautiful free week  I started my second clinical elective, which was in obstetrics and gynecology surgery in St. Josef Krankenhaus. The shift started at 7.30 with a short meeting and then we started work. I learned there a lot, for example to use a USG to watch the fetus and  how to interpret the pictures. I joined the surgery daily. Most of the operations did not take long,  so I had the chance to watch different kinds of surgerys. The experience I remember best, was a natural childbirth, it really affected me. I had also the chnace to assist a hysterectomy surgery, and the  assistants helped me at all times. And  end of these two weeks  I started to think to become a gynecologist.

Freiburg is considered to have the highest temperatures of all German cities – that was like in Izmir. There are many lakes and large forests the Black Forest area. I liked to travel by  bike in Freiburg, meeting new people, seeing new places was so amazing for me. People who live in Freiburg were really kind. Everyone was smiling. I noticed that there were extra lanes and traffic-lights for bikers. This is different from Turkey. When I was in Freiburg I attended a festival, together with  Anna and Gözde. We listened to a group which sang local folk-songs. This kind of music was new for me, but I liked it and I danced. There were several nice events to spend the leasure time: I joined a barbecue party with one of my flatmates. And I also  joined  a solidarity-meeting for immigrants with Anna. I visited the fescinating Black Forest and I enjoyed delicious Black Forest cake.

Beyond the exchange program’s schedule I had travelled to Strasbourg, Munich, Stuttgart, Heidelberg and Konstanz. Heildelberg is as cute as Freiburg. Streets, river and castle were breathtaking - I felt there like being in a fairy tale. Stuttgart was a little bit different to other places I visited, without so much beautiful nature. It is a more industrial town. I visited Mercedes-Benz museum there, which was really interesting. You can have information about all cars with free guide. And it was as well an interesting experience to hear more Turkish than German words, when in Stuttgart’s streets.
Konstanz is an amazing place, with the Rhine river 
and the huge Bodensee. Munich is also a large and beautiful city where you can find whatever you want. But It is much more expensive than Freiburg.
I liked Strasbourg as well, it is a cute city where friendly people live. Everyone seems to be happy.

I also visited Berlin. Berlin seemed both a large and a small city for me. Actually it is the largest city in Germany but you can go everywhere very easily. I visited museums, tv-tower, remains of Berlin Wall, A and B zones. I had the opportunity to meet with Ulla. Ulla is so nice, friendly, knowledgeable, kind, cultured woman who is very committed to her work. While having a coffee together, I told her about my internship and my ideas about Germany and Turkey. And then stepped into IPPNW Office, where I was introduced to all staff-members.  I am so glad to meet to Ulla. If Ulla comes here I would love to have a coffee with her.
I loved my days in Berlin. I might want to live there or in one of the other cities I had been. After amazing Berlin I took the plane to Izmir, hoping to return one day.

Before starting the intership I did not  know anything about Germany. I thought that German people are not so friendly. But I realized how different reality is from images.  People are so friendly, kind and happy. And for sure they are very hardworking. AndI I felt safe in Germany. Not only in the hospital, also in the cities. Many people know English and they kept me away from any difficulties. I started to think to  work in Germany in the future. I am improving my basic German now. I hope I can come again to Germany. I liked to help people as good as I can and listen to their life stories. I want to take part in a social project  again.

And I want to say thank you again to Bülent Kilic  and  Ulla Gorges, Gözde Sen, Anna HAsenmaile and the whole IPPNW team. Hope to meet you again. Warm regards from İzmir.