"I hope to be such a great neurosurgeon one day!" Over sixty trainees from abroad go to Brno hospitals through IFMSA every year

Brno has long been known to be a student metropolis, not only Brnoers. In the Campus Advisor's ranking of the best student cities for 2023, Brno came in fourth place, with only Newcastle, Berlin, and Melbourne in Australia doing better. How long does it take for a student from the other side of the world to fall under its spell? According to participants of the exchange internships coordinated by the student organization IFMSA, four weeks is enough.

26 Apr 2024

IFMSA intern João Adib Buainain with representatives of the neurosurgery clinic, Professor Eva Brichtová and Professor Jan Chrastina. "I am sure that this experience will help me in my work with patients back home in Brazil"

“I originally wanted to go to another city, but I had no idea what awaited me in Brno. Today, I sit here, nostalgically longing to walk the cobbled streets of the city centre among all the picturesque houses once more,” recalls Amir, who came to Brno from Indonesia last autumn. He replaced his admiration for the local architecture with words of gratitude for his temporary classmates and the doctors from the Neurosurgery Clinic at St. Anne’s University Hospital and the Faculty of Medicine at Masaryk University, where he spent his time. “They were all very kind and friendly and did not hesitate to help whenever needed. I had the opportunity to assist in a variety of surgeries, from routine disc surgeries to a six-hour parasagittal meningioma surgery. I have also observed complex procedures such as the resection of a tumour while the patient was awake, the clamping of an aneurysm, and stereo biopsy,” says the young medic from Southeast Asia.

Especially at the Neurosurgery Clinic of the University Hospital USA, they already have extensive experience with foreign trainees, which can be described as rich and beneficial for students. "Students from all over the world come to us," says the deputy head of the clinic, Professor Eva Brichtová. "They are highly motivated and interested not only in the medical field itself but also in the organization of Czech healthcare, our culture, and society. During their internship, they mostly observe surgeries and familiarize themselves with practically the entire range of neurosurgical procedures. The internship takes place in an amiable atmosphere, and I greatly value the feedback from the students, for whom I serve as an inspiration for their future careers. As one of them said, 'It was a very great experience. And I hope someday I will be a great neurosurgeon like you.'"

IFMSA internships are the largest student exchange program in the world, with over thirteen thousand students from more than one hundred countries participating each year. Hundreds of students travel worldwide each year through the Czech branch of the organization. More than sixty students regularly attend Brno hospitals. In the vast majority of cases, their experience in South Moravia is similar to Amir's. "The medical staff welcomed me warmly and treated me as an important team member. I had the opportunity to discuss several cases of critically ill patients, interpret examinations, and perform interventions. My opinions were valued, and the doctors answered all my questions," says twenty-seven-year-old João from Brazil, who spent four weeks in the Intensive Care Unit of the Brno University Hospital at the beginning of the year.

Whether IFMSA trainees come to Brno for clinical or scientific internships, apart from the standard forty-hour workweek they spend at their chosen workplace, they are encouraged to learn about the local culture and engage in other educational activities. However, this obligation is embraced, and they take home not only photos of tourist attractions and memories of Christmas markets ("I saw snow for the first time!"), but also experiences from shared dinners where everyone contributes a national dish. "The local IFMSA committee had everything ready before we arrived, so there was always some entertainment or program planned. Thanks to them, I will never forget Brno," says Janna, a fifth-year medical student from Cairo, Egypt. "Brno will always remain in my heart. I was enchanted by everything: the architecture, the history, the cuisine, and especially the people. The four weeks in Brno were just dreamy!"

Zahraniční mediky v Brně kromě práce čeká i bohatý kulturní program.

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