Dear Coordinator and Friends,
my name is Tanka Raj Ban. I am a medical student from Nepal. I had gotten the golden opportunity to participate in the “engage and practice medical student exchange program 2016”, conducted by IPPNW, an honorable organization, in Germany. It became possible through the communication with IPPNW coordinator Anne. I am sharing my experience with deepest pleasure and honor.
Warm welcome in Germany
I arrived in Hannover on August 6th. There, I received a warm welcome by two IPPNW students. They welcomed me at the airport, took me to the train station and gave me the ticket to Göttingen. In the short period of time we had a nice conversation. They showed great respect for a stranger like me. One thing that I still remember and that I will do forever was, when they offered me a “bottle of drinking water” just before I got on the train. Though it may sound like a very common thing, for someone like me, who just came to a new country for the first time and who was anxious about many things it meant a lot. I am really touched by this. I am greatly impressed by their respect.
My stay in Gottingen
I thought it was the final welcome greeting for me but there were more good friends waiting again to welcome me in Göttingen. I received more than I had imagined in Göttingen. Interestingly, they had split up the job to take care of me. Some came to welcome me at the train station, some helped me with kitchen stuff and the supermarket, some gave me a bicycle, some were to take me to the hospital…. and so on. I had to think about how sincere the IPPNW students were helping me, already a long time before I arrived there. What a nice hospitality that was. Everyone around me wanted to help me by any means. What could be better than this for someone who comes to a new place far from his/her homeland.
I never felt bored during the stay as there was some kind of celebration we used to enjoy during the weekends or sometimes I used to go around the city riding the bicycle to find the football stadium, as I am a big fan of the German football team. Friends were surprised with my knowledge regarding the German national team and its players.
Some other day, I used to go to the hospital riding my bicycle at around 8- 9 am in the morning and used to return at 4 pm. I used to attend the round session in the morning and some meetings. Göttingen has a big medical school. There is a big Cath lab. I used to go there to see cardiac procedures. Doctors were very competent and skillful. They used to explain to me what they were doing. Sometimes I used to go to the other research labs and sometimes to the big library.
The day before I left Göttingen, one of my friends gave me a bread, that she had made herself and wished me all the best with a big hug. She was really nice. It was not only the bread she gave me but she has left a good impression. This was more than I had ever expected. It was a good appreciation of my presence. I am very thankful to her. I was loved very much by my friends in Göttingen.
There was everything for me and it was all well managed. Nice friends, a big medical school and a good place to live with all facilities, made my everyday life awesome. This place and my friends will be in my memory forever with the impressions they have left.
My stay in Berlin
I left that beautiful place after three weeks and went to Berlin. Berlin is a very nice and big city. I had a different experience in Berlin. Especially, because of the “Global Health Summer School”. It was a golden opportunity to take part in such a program. It had an interesting topic, great speakers, was well managed by an honorable organization team and there were participants from different parts of the world. There was a lot of excitement among the participants. All of this had made the program a huge success. It has broadened my horizon of knowledge and taken me to the heights of global thinking. It was really awesome. I wish to attend the program again and again. Besides attending the program, I enjoyed sightseeing in this historical and beautiful city.
I had very nice people with whom I spent my two weeks of time in Berlin. I wish happiness and prosperity to this happy family.
The hospital where I went for my elective in Berlin, tried to do their best. I got a good clinical exposure there. I am thankful for the hospital team and my friends.
My stay in Würzburg: After two weeks in Berlin I went to Würzburg for my remaining part of the program, mainly to do a social internship. I enjoyed the view of the countryside during my trip from Berlin to Würzburg. There were very good friends waiting for me. Just after arriving there, I received a very warm welcome by them. We went to IPPNW doctor Eva’s place following her invitation for dinner. We enjoyed it and talked a bit and after that we went to my place which was also nice and with all the facilities nearby the Mission Hospital.
The happiest moment for me was when I saw my friends and Dr. Eva herself waiting for me at bus station. That makes anyone think how responsible they are and how much they cared for someone like me. I had no great expectations but I got a lot. They are so nice people.
I enjoyed my caring friends around me on the subsequent day. I met great doctors and friends in the hospital who were so generous and helpful. They wanted to help me to gain something from Germany. With the same purpose they used to take me to the morning discussion session, the round and then OPD and explain more about the patient’s condition to me. Inbetween we used to go to the refugee’s camp also for their health checkup. I enjoyed following hospital activities throughout the day. On leisure time I used to go around the city area for sightseeing. This way my two weeks of time went by so nicely in a joyful environment.
One thing that I like to remember is when the Professor himself came early in the morning and took me to the train station on the day of departure. His whole team was very noble. I can’t explain how touched I was and how much it meant to me. We waited till the train came and said good bye to each other. The moment was very painful to say good bye to the ones who loved me and cared for me. On the other hand, I was happy to return to my homeland.
I have huge respect for everyone who was there to help me. Now I am missing all the doctors and friends. I would like to express my appreciation for all of them.
It is obvious that there are some difficulties during such a trip. It also happened to me but I don’t find them significant to mention any more. Like at first, it was difficult for me to find the salt in the supermarket because everything was in German. As I was scared of the new place and new people I couldn’t dare to ask for a few days. Later one of my friends helped me to get it. I enjoy sharing these things with my friends in Nepal. The groceries were not so strange for me. I had no problems with food stuffs. I could use anything. I liked the butter, cheese and bread combination.
Likewise, I had no problem with the language. Almost everybody could speak English where I needed to talk. Sometimes I didn’t find the way but there were lots of good people with google maps to help me out. I used to ask for help many times. My pronunciation in English used to be different and wrong, so I used to ask for the place, either by writing it down or using the map (in Berlin). During my stay I also learned some German words like “guten Morgen, guten Tag,vielen Dank, bis morgen, tschüss etc… There were lot of other things but I wouldn’t say they were too important, but it was rather for fun to remember them. All this added up to make the trip more interesting.
Recommendations: Honestly speaking, I don’t find anything to complain about. To make the program smoother for the the future, I think that it is more than enough what you are doing presently. So I would like to recommend the same kind of schedule, coordination and programs like the clinical and social internship and to continue the interesting “Engage and Practice Global Health Summer School”.
IPPNW is an honorable, non-partisan federation of national medical groups. Citing the first principle of the medical profession — that doctors have an obligation to prevent what they cannot treat, IPPNW is working for a long time to achieve a peaceful and secure world, free of the threat of nuclear annihilation. To get a chance to engage in the program of such an organization is honorable itself. I feel lucky to be part of it and I would like to express my profound gratitude to the organizational team that made this possible. It was a big platform to learn and expose myself to the outer world. I got exactly what I wanted in Germany. By the end of the seven weeks I achieved my objective of going there. I am immensely happy about the way you have tried to manage everything to make my trip successful. I am still enjoying to share this awesome experience with my friends, family and relatives. For my entire career this is a wonderful experience. I am really pleased and thankful for the whole team.
Thank you very much….!!!!!!!!!!