My experience as a medical exchange student in Jordan

The local committee which hosted me and some other exchange students from all over the world was composed of medical students and intern doctors from the Jordan University of Science and Technology
My experience as a medical exchange student in Jordan  (Unsplash)
My experience as a medical exchange student in Jordan (Unsplash)

I had the opportunity to participate in an IFMSA SCOPE medical exchange to Jordan in July 2022 where I spent 4 weeks in the city of Irbid. I chose to work in the department of internal medicine at the King Abdullah University Hospital (KAUH). Jordan is a country brimming with culture, which is often referred to as an “Oasis of stability” in the tumultuous region of the Middle East.

My experience as a medical exchange student in Jordan  (Unsplash)
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It is home to one of the seven wonders of the world - the lost city of Petra, the mesmerizing Martian landscapes of the Wadi Rum desert, the Dead Sea depression which is the lowest point on land (400m below sea level), the Red Sea and so much more. The Jordanian people are renowned for their hospitality and generosity which I witnessed first-hand. The local committee which hosted me and some other exchange students from all over the world was composed of medical students and intern doctors from the Jordan University of Science and Technology which is a premier academic institution in the country.

The local committee which hosted me and some other exchange students from all over the world was composed of medical students and intern doctors from the Jordan University of Science and Technology which is a premier academic institution in the country. 
(Pixabay)
The local committee which hosted me and some other exchange students from all over the world was composed of medical students and intern doctors from the Jordan University of Science and Technology which is a premier academic institution in the country. (Pixabay)

All the people I met during the month were extremely welcoming and kind. It was truly heart-warming to feel such love, respect and acceptance from people from a completely different cultural background. The academic exposure at KAUH provided a brilliant insight into the healthcare scenario of the country. Learning alongside final year medical students in the medicine ward, I got to interact with a lot of patients and saw some interesting cases such as diabetic ketoacidosis, renal failure, ascites, cystic fibrosis, COPD and renal calculi among others.

My experience as a medical exchange student in Jordan  (Unsplash)
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I was taught by highly knowledgeable and proficient professors who were very approachable and had an enthusiastic attitude towards interacting with students. They made sure that every student was well-versed with taking anamnesis and performing general and systemic examination on patients in an efficient manner. The academic quality of the exchange was excellent and it was a thoroughly enriching experience overall.

I was taught by highly knowledgeable and proficient professors who were very approachable and had an enthusiastic attitude towards interacting with students. They made sure that every student was well-versed with taking anamnesis and performing general and systemic examination on patients in an efficient manner. (Unsplash)
I was taught by highly knowledgeable and proficient professors who were very approachable and had an enthusiastic attitude towards interacting with students. They made sure that every student was well-versed with taking anamnesis and performing general and systemic examination on patients in an efficient manner. (Unsplash)

Apart from the busy hours at the hospital, I got to interact with other medical students from Jordan and from around the world which strengthened my networking skills and broadened my perception of the global healthcare scenario. One such student I met is Naji Al-Ali Asrawi, who is currently working as an intern doctor at KAUH. In conversation with Naji about the impact of a medical student exchange as a means to increase global medical connectivity, he remarked

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind

Anthony Bourdain, an American celebrity author and travel documentarian

This quote is the idea that I believe in, in fact I’m looking to gain as much experience as I can from such a chance. I know that it won’t be easy, either to obtain this chance or to get that level of experience out of it, but that’s alright because there is no achievement without hard work. What impresses me about this exchange opportunity, first of all is the feeling of this aspect of humanity that gathers us, medicine- how lovely it is to be with a group of people from different backgrounds, different countries and even different continents for the same noble purpose.

My experience as a medical exchange student in Jordan  (Unsplash)
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Another aspect that I’m really keen about is living a whole month between doctor’s rounds, reports and patients who are waiting for you to serve them with your knowledge, what an amazing opportunity, right? What I love about traveling is that it gives you a real chance to meet new people, to know about the different cultures and new mindsets. It’s a great way to make your thoughts and your mind much richer.” These 4 weeks have had a huge impact on my life. I made some amazing friends who felt more like family by the end of the month, saw the beautiful sights of Jordan, lived like a local in a completely foreign culture, learned about the health scenario of the country in great detail and experienced the warmth and hospitality of the people of Jordan who welcomed me as one of their own. It was a life-changing journey and one that I am very grateful to have embarked upon.

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