Intern en Medecin, Edition Bruxelles. Past Review

By (Biology, General., University of Rochester) - abroad from 06/04/2012 to 06/15/2012 with

EPA Internships in Europe: Brussels - Vesalius College

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I got the wonderful experience of doing something that I love abroad, meeting new people and getting to know a new city. My internship was in St Pierre Hospital, located near the city center of Brussels. Being the biggest hospital in the city, the hospital sees a large volume of people everyday. There was always lots to see! I had one principle mentor, the chief of neurology, but rotated through three services throughout the week: neurology, emergencies and geriatrics internal medicine. This way, I was exposed to a large variety of services and types of medicine. I also got to see the differences between US and Belgian health care and medical education. Besides interning, I was exploring Brussels and other European cities with my roommates. Some notable experiences include a bike tour of Luxembourg, watching Euro cup at the bars each night, reaching Amsterdam without a hostel reservation (on accident!) and July 14th in Paris with my family! Many of the people I met while in Brussels became great friends and I kept in touch with them after returning to the USI cannot recommend study abroad highly enough to other students!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment was much larger and nicer than I expected it to be given that European apartments are usually quite small.

* Food:

How does one not love waffles, chocolate and frites?

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My French background helped me greatly with integration because I could speak the language, however Belgians were always very nice and accommodating to people from other countries.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Truthfully, I never needed any health care during the program so I can't really say too much about this. I worked in St. Pierre hospital so anything I needed I imagine could have been addressed there!

* Safety:

Brussels is like any metropolitan area so you must be careful when out and about. Just be aware of your surroundings and belongings and you should be fine. For me, Brussels was not any more dangerous than any other city. One very nice thing about city life in Brussels is that cars will always go out of their way to stop and let you cross the street, something that is definitely not the norm in New York or Paris for instance.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Things were a little more expensive, though I will say that most of the expenses while on study abroad come from weekend trips traveling to other towns and countries. This is something you will want to save money for and not miss out on!

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go to the public market with your roommates, don't eat out every night, cook meals at home if you are trying to save.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I wouldn't say that the program encouraged me to use the language. Many students on the trip with me did not have to use French very much during their daily routines. My internship was in a hospital and I was required to speak French everyday. Granted, this was not a struggle because I was already fluent in French. I did learn a lot of medical vocabulary and many idiosyncrasies within the Belgian French.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? AP French Literature, IB HL French
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Just do it! You must first build a basic vocabulary and then practice speaking ALOT. It will become easier.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Brussels
  • New Friends
  • My awesome internship
* What could be improved?
  • Getting internship placements sooner
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known to bring a credit card with unquestionable international capabilities. My card worked most of the time, but some of my friends had trouble using their cards at ATMs.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!