"I chose to do an elective in general pediatrics at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. I am going into obstetrics and gynecology, so pediatrics was not an obvious choice; however I was very interested in coming to Geneva since I have family there and the department of pediatrics was the only department that I contacted who could accommodate a visiting student for a single month.
"While I was there, I learned a great deal of medical French. I also saw the way a different health care system worked, and the way that people practice medicine in a different country.
"I was given a great deal of autonomy. I carried my own patients, wrote my own progress notes, communicated with parents and patients, and presented my patients during daily rounds. I also gave a 35-minute talk on meningitis, in French, to other students.
"The experience was challenging because I was so far outside of my comfort level. I speak French, but didn’t know much medical French. It was also challenging because it was a field I wasn't as familiar with. I hadn't done pediatrics in over a year! But I suppose like all good challenging experiences, when you complete them successfully it gives you added confidence.
"It was also fun being a representative of the American system, which is so well respected. And it was fun being a representative of Philadelphia, a city most people didn't know much about but one that I have grown to love, so I enjoyed encouraging people to come visit."
"I think I have made some lasting contacts at the hospital. I was told I would be welcome anytime, and I even have at least one person willing to help me see if I can get an experience in obstetrics and gynecology next time.
"I loved my experience because I lived with my grandmother for six weeks, and she is wonderful. I enjoyed amazing weather and had some amazing adventures in a beautiful country."
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