A Medical Student And One Day As A Physician

829 Words Jun 3rd, 2016 4 Pages
Upon boarding my plane for India, I sat next to a friendly, older man. Once he realized I was 19 and traveling alone he asked, “Aren’t you nervous?” At that moment I realized that among all the things I did feel about going to volunteer at a hospital in Southern India -excitement, wonder and curiosity- nervousness was not on the list. And when I was unexpectedly locked out of the terminal during a midnight layover in Chennai, having to sleep on the sidewalk with an armed guard pacing nearby while we waited for the airport to reopen, I still wasn’t nervous. My ability to navigate India in the middle of the night, remain calm facing unexpected and uncomfortable circumstances while adjusting to cultural differences, will likewise ensure I excel as a medical student and one day as a physician.

I immersed myself in Indian medicine, culture, food and customs, slowly assimilating with doctors and nurses. I broke down language barriers with a smile, a hand on the shoulder and small acts of kindness like holding a glass of water while the patient slowly drank or moving a pillow for greater comfort. I bonded with a group of nursing students over Indian music videos and they invited me to a local wedding—but only after teaching me how to properly wrap a sari and use my hands to eat from a banana leaf. I learned the importance of cultural awareness, to adjust to a harsh physical environment, soothe sick patients and adapt to unfamiliar settings. This experience built on my previous…
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