Abel Joseph – Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (India)
MEDI 407 – Digestive Diseases and Nutrition
What was your first impression like?
This is my first rotation. This is my first time in the United States. Before I came here, I thought you know, I should do well so I could get a letter or something like that. But then when I came here, the first week I had a really good fellow, and the fellow probably had experience with this. So, she just threw me in a patient’s room and was like “Go talk to the patient- Go,” and for me that was like, that’s the most scary part for international students, right? Actually meeting the patients. Because, at home our patients are Indian, it’s a totally different language. You don’t talk to patients in English, we explain a condition in the native language. So, the most scary part for me was going and talking to a patient– so when she just threw me in there I was like “Oh, no. What am I going to do? I have to present this case in like 45 minutes, what do I do?” And then I went inside, and the patients were just really welcoming. I don’t know if it’s the entire country itself, or because it’s a southern place, but the patients are super nice. They talk to you and they love company. They’re so friendly, and like all the older patients, they’ll tell you about their horses, they’ll tell you about their farms, they’ll tell you about everything. They’re really nice generally, and they want you to talk to them more. And certain things they told me, were never on the chart. So that’s new information for the doctors as well.
By the third week of my rotation, the attending was really impressed by my performance and agreed to give me a letter as well. So in the end I got both. It was a really good experience.
You Participated in our Cultural Exchange Program, where you were paired with a UNC Student- how did that go?
Chapel Hill is awesome! Hats off to your Cultural Exchange Program. It went really, really well! And I’m going to her place again tomorrow. We’re going to play a board game, Settlers of Catan. She’s super nice, and they’re really helpful. They help you with your application as well. She said she would look at my application and see. It’s amazing. They’re really helpful. She came to my place and picked me up, took me out to dinner, and we went out and came back. She always checks up, like when there was snow she was like “Are you okay? Do you want a ride?” It was really nice.
Describe your elective experience.
Gastro is really hectic, you do a lot. When I come in at 8, they don’t even notice if it’s a holiday. They’re just like “Okay I have a patient for you, let’s go.” It’s super nice. If you want to work, you can work a lot. I came in every day, even with the snow and holidays. Even if you don’t have to come in, it’s better if you actually came in because that’s when they will be free and you’ll actually get to spend some time with them.