Saying Goodbye to MPP E

In case you didn’t know, MPP is my core course Medical Practice and Policy, and section E is the ~best~ section around.¬†

Anyway, as we conclude our last class and I take the train home (yesterday, sorry had to study for my Danish final ūüôā ) from our final class dinner, I feel like it’s important to point out how amazing this class was.

Being a biology major I’ve focused my first five semesters at Bucknell on all the heavy sciences: organic chemistry, molecular/cellular biology, biochemistry, physics and plenty more. But for the first time in my academic career I took a class dedicated to medicine, something I hope to at some point devote my life to. Therefore, this class was what really made this semester worth while and interesting.¬†

There are only so many classes (pre-medical school of course) that can provide you with the experiences and opportunities we had, such as; 

Рwatch a live natural birth (still number one on my list tbh) 

– Practice suturing

РLiterally play with placentas that supported a baby only hours prior 

– ‘Play’ with a one of its kind simulator to practice laparoscopic removal of ovarian cysts¬†

– Interview real patients with real problems and write a report (okay the writing part wasn’t that cool)¬†

– Learn from real doctors (who are super cool btw @ben, @Wendy & @Mia)

РLearn how to insert IVs and even insert them into classmates 

– Get to wear scrubs (amazing)

– Practice an emergency simulation with fake patients (that can breath and act like they’re throwing up) and pretend to save a life

РMeet an incredible group of people, MPPE, from my perspective, had an incredible bond that was felt throughout the semester that simply added to the experience of this class. Of course we can laugh, now, at the rather unfortunate things that have happened 

  • Getting stuck in an elevator in Poznan
  • Touring a boat in Ebeltoft in the freezing cold
  • Running through Berlin for being 20 seconds late to meeting
  • Trying to find the best position to sleep on the long bus rides through Denmark

But this semester and¬†the closeness of the people in the class wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for all the events that made this class possible, thanks MPP E for being an extraordinary¬†academic and social experience this semester.

I guess since classes are over starts the countdown to the dreaded ~going home~: 19

Peace and Studying

 

Here’s some pictures for your enjoyment

 

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Studying Medicine Abroad

If I were able to find (aka explain to my mom via facebook message) where my 2nd grade year book was, I’d be able to open up to a page that was titled “what do I want to be when I grow up” and if you skimmed to my name, you’d see even in second grade I wanted to be a pediatrician. I guess I was a pretty wise 8 year old since almost 13 years later, I still have the same dream. Being abroad has effected this dream in ways I couldn’t even imagine, but it also presents a challenge being a second semester junior with applying to medical school right around the corner.

Being in the Medical Practice and Policy course at DIS has been quite possibly the most amazing medical experience of my life, and makes me even more excited to work towards my dream. I’ve been able to be involved in the health field in 3 different countries since coming to Denmark, and in ways that are unimaginable in the United States. ¬†I have done my fair share of shadowing doctors, volunteering in a pediatric emergency department and even work at my university’s health center. Don’t get me wrong, these experiences have been amazing, but nothing is as incredible as the experiences I’ve had here.

In my class, Human Health and Disease: A Clinical Approach, alone I’ve FINALLY been able to learn about medicine and disease. ¬†All my collegiate career has been learning the molecular, chemical and biological aspects of medicine, which again is necessary and interesting, but not as interesting as learning how to examine a patient, learn about typical diseases and have case studies. I even have a small book of all the symptoms a person can present and what they could have (how cool!). We got to go to a real living patient and take their history and perform basic exams, giving us the real life experience of a doctor.

In Denmark, we got to learn about OB/GYN by getting a hands on approach with simulators and fake patients and real life placentas.  I got to do a pap-smear and STI testing on a fake women (may not seem that exciting to most, but very exciting to us). And then we got to use one of the few laparoscopic simulators to perform tube tying, cyst removal and other laparoscopic techniques.

*Caution following picture could be gross to some*

Placentas and Blood during class
Practicing laparoscopic tube tying

In Germany, we got to visit a neonatal ward and see triplets who were born premature and were being cared for in the NICU. We also got to visit a cardiovascular center specializing in surgery.  Here we got to learn about stem cells, but more interestingly we got to watch a stint being put into a man with some clots in his leg, something that made standing for an hour in one spot worth it.

In Poland, (best for last), I got to see a real life natural delivery.  After watching plenty of pregnant women get their stats and explanation of some of the tools used in delivery, there was a lot of commotion and we got to see a women give birth to a healthy baby. Again, one of the most exciting moments in my life.

Walking (in our lovely blue scrubs) to the OBGYN

I have truly had experiences that I would never have gotten in the USA and I look forward to each class to learn about all these diseases and what life is like being a doctor. On the downside, studying for the MCAT with the excitements of a foreign country can be hard, and getting in contact with your home university regarding your future and classes for next semester can be difficult with time differences and lack of wifi.But, I wouldn’t change the medical experience I am gaining abroad for anything.

Biking Berlin (and more)

Once we left the craziness of Poland we found ourselves in the city of Berlin. Being in Berlin made me wish I paid a little more attention in history class (I know my mom is saying I told you so). The history of Berlin is so extensive it is crazy to be walking the streets and seeing sites that have experienced so much. Once of the craziest things to me was that a lot of history (falling of the Berlin Wall) is not that old, which really really is hard to grasp.

Anyway, what better way to to visit the city (especially being a student in Copenhagen) than by bike. All 30 of us hopped on a bike tour around the city.

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Stops included:

– East vs. West Berlin

– Berlin Wall

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– Jewish Memorial

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– The University Albert Einstein taught at

– Checkpoint Charlie

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– Parliament

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– Location of Hitler’s Bunker

Our guide presented us with plenty of the history of the impacts of the Cold War, WWII, Hitler and plenty more. All of which made us really think about history and how we’ve gotten to where we are now.

The rest of the week was dedicated to hospital visits to a vascular surgical hospital, a neonatology ward, and a family planning center, eating traditional German foods; spatzle, curreywurst and plenty more.

xoxo

Margaret

(Ps-pics to come)

Perusin’ in Poznan

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Poznan, Poland is an interesting place and we had quite an interesting experience. ¬†For a quick overview read the quick list below, for explanations…keep reading.

  1. Rode a propellor plane where all but three passengers were from my class
  2. Had 3 hr lunch, missed walking tour, but still won the walking tour bonuses
  3. Carried 2 pierogi’s in my purse all afternoon
  4. Polish women spoke to us for 10 minutes in Polish not recognizing we didn’t speak Polish
  5. Watched a real life natural delivery (AMAZING)
  6. Paid 4USD for 2 course meal and a drink
  7. Went to an indoor waterpark
  8. Watched the Polish sunset from a huge outdoor hot tub
  9. Got stuck in an elevator
  10. Ran after the train to Berlin

1. Rode a propellor plane where all but three passengers were from my class

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So I guess not many people go to Poznan, Poland from Copenhagen because the only people on our lovely flight were the 30 members of MPP EG (Medical Practice and Policy, sections E/G) and a few other older men. ¬†In reality the plane wasn’t that bad, just very small and a little turbulent on the landing…

2.  Had 3 hr lunch, missed walking tour, but still won the walking tour bonuses

Poznan is a fairly small town, and they are still considered to be part of the “eastern block”, so when 10 of us sat down at a lovely Polish restaurant we did not realize it would take us 3 hours to get out meal and pay. We had a really really good lunch (pierogis and potato pancakes) and it was really cheap, but we did miss our self guided group walking tour because we were just a few steps behind our group. ¬†BUT we still found every landmark, took pictures, and managed all the bonuses WHILE making it to dinner on time, so we actually won.

3. Carried 2 pierogi’s in my purse all afternoon

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I had a slight love for Pierogis, so naturally when I couldn’t finish them all during our long lunch, I couldn’t leave any behind, I also want it to be known that I did not act alone. Anyway, they made for a great late night snack.

4. Polish women spoke to us for 10 minutes in Polish not recognizing we didn’t speak Polish

We have been spoiled in Denmark because everyone speaks English so despite Danish being an incredibly difficult language we don’t ever have to deal with it. But Poznan is just not the same, and none of us know Polish. So, when we got to our first hospital visit at an early 7:30, we were approached by an overwhelming number of older Polish woman trying to tell us where to go but were just continually talking to us in Polish and we had nothing to respond with, but luckily we eventually found someone that spoke English who then led us around in circles but we eventually found our way.

5. Watched a real life natural delivery (AMAZING)

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Our first hospital visit was a OB/GYN where we got to walk around and meet with some pregnant women. THEN a lot of commotion started to happen and we got to peak into a natural delivery.  It was quite possibly the most amazing, beautiful thing in the world to watch and I am so lucky to have been in that exact spot at the right time.

6. Paid 4USD for 2 course meal and a drink

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A friend and I decided to stroll through the square and find a place for lunch, luckily a woman approached us on the street to tell us that they had a two course and drink lunch deal going on and we thought she said 50 zloty (Polish currency = 12ish usd) so we thought it was a good deal. After a delicious meal we were shocked to find the bill was only 15 zloty (4ish usd) so we had a great day.

7. Went to an indoor waterpark

One thing we saw on the itinerary and questioned greatly was this indoor waterpark we were told we were going to. ¬†After much complaining and questioning bringing 30 20yr olds to a waterpark, we arrived and to much amazement had an incredible time. ¬†The first thing we went into was a large hot tub that had an extension outside where we were able to see a single ski run (still questioning it). Then we all ventured to the 4 waterslides and the 20yrs in us turned into 10 because we had SO much fun. Then we ventured to the “spa park” where only towels were allowed, so we knew we were in for a time then. Although many people were all about the nudity, we were just not, so we found a lovely sauna all to ourselves outside and had a really fun time. After we put our bathing suits on we went back to the hot tub that went outside to catch the lovely sunset, which was a great end to an unexpected great day.

8. Watched the Polish sunset from a huge outdoor hot tub

As quoted from above “After we put our bathing suits on we went back to the hot tub that went outside to catch the lovely sunset, which was a great end to an unexpected great day.”

9. Got stuck in an elevator

After a great dinner, all 8 of us decided to take the elevator up to the 5th floor, BUT within the first two seconds the elevator fell, stopped, and then was stuck. ¬†Luckily the intercom came on telling us someone was coming to fix it, finishing with the line “stay there” because when you’re stuck in an elevator you have so many places to go…anyway, within 15 minutes we were saved after many attempts at opening the door then slowly lowering us down we were on steady land and decided to take the stairs the rest of the trip.

10. Ran after the train to Berlin

Our trip to Poznan came to an end with a train ride to Berlin. BUT naturally, since MPP EG likes to leave with a bang, we had to run after the train to get to our car, only to get on the wrong car, squeeze past all the first classers and make our way to our less exciting seating.

Next stop Berlin!

Valentine’s Day in Copenhagen

To be honest, this has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day other than it’s a label to the day I spent an evening at the theatre. ¬†Although it may sound incredibly romantic, with no boyfriends in my life, I spent my V-Day with my Danish Language and Culture Class at the theatre. This was true cultural and language immersion because the entire play was in Danish, but luckily an app was recently created that translated the entire play.

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This play was a comedy about politics, much of which made fun of them¬†and in particular US politics. ¬†Although there are still parts I’m very confused about as the translating app wasn’t perfect, and it was hard to look at my phone and the play at the same, there were definitely things I did completely understand. ¬†Hard hits at Danish politics as well as Trump and Bush for Americans, despite the time period of the actual play being in the 1700’s. ¬†I just found the experience extremely interesting because it showed how important (and comical) American politics are to foreign countries. ¬†I mean let’s be real, Americans could never joke about Danish politics because they don’t pay attention to it. The experience overall was very interesting, and it provided me with a true Danish cultural event, even though my professor had to explain half of it to us over wine during intermission.

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The rest of my day was also slightly eventful, I did¬†one of the top things you’re supposed to do, see the little mermaid. And as everyone who’s been there will tell you, it is completely underwhelming. It is a simple statue depicting Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, The Little Mermaid. Although it wasn’t that exciting, it was not too far from where I needed to be later in the day and for once it was a beautiful day in Copenhagen so I had a nice walk through the city, which really makes me appreciate how beautiful Copenhagen is!

 

The Realities of Cancer Treatment in Denmark

Cancer affects people around the globe, and the way it’s handled varies greatly. ¬†For the last two summers, I worked at Camp Good Days and Special Times, a summer camp dedicated to working with children affected by cancer, whether it be themselves, their siblings, or their parents. We even have kids that come from all over the world; Ethiopia, Belize, Bahamas, Spain and plenty more, therefore I’ve learned a little about cancer in other countries. But, my exposure¬†to those affected by cancer is¬†typically to forget about the cancer or to encourage a child to be a child again. ¬†Therefore, the focus has never been on treatment or what goes on in the hospitals these kids frequent. ¬†On the other end, being a biology major, I’ve learned about what causes cancer, the molecular fundamentals of cancer, the genetics of it, and the effects it has on the body.

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For the first time, at Odense Hospital on my short study tour, I understood and saw first hand what cancer treatment was like, specifically in Denmark. We were able to meet with both a physician and physicist as they talked about radiotherapy. Much of this information was incredibly interesting to me, especially the physics of it because it finally made my two semester of physics worth it! Then, we got to tour parts of the hospital dedicated to radiotherapy cancer treatment. ¬†Not only were we able to see where the treatment occurs, we were able to go ‘behind the scenes’ and see this huge machine and the energy it takes. It truly opened my eyes to the importance of mechanics and physics in a hospital, the machine to those being treated is big and scary but clean cut and covers¬†the complexity that is the mechanics behind it.

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My favorite part of this visit was ‘the control room’ a room where we were able to see physicians, physicists and radiologists in action. ¬†We were able to see people’s scans and the work that goes into designing a treatment for that individual. It seemed incredibly complex and difficult, but it was astonishing to know that the work going into it would¬†be life changing for an individual.

This visit really opened my eyes to the other side of cancer, and makes me so proud to work for such an amazing organization that works to help kids separate their childhood from their time in these hospitals.

5 Things I’m Looking Forward to in my Classes

Although being in Europe can be deterring from academics I do have to remember I’m here to ~study~ abroad. ¬†In honor of the first round of classes I’ve dedicated this post to a little info about each class and what I’m looking most forward to.

  1. Medical Practice and Policy: Human Health and Disease – This is my core course which means I spend a lot of time with this group as we will be traveling to Western Denmark, Berlin, Germany and Poznan, Poland as a class. ¬†This class is taught by two doctors and we have class in a hospital most times. ¬†So far we’ve been told that much of this class has an emphasis on the¬†clinical aspects of medicine; how to take medical histories, how to diagnose, how to perform basic medical exams etc. ¬†Some of the classes¬†will look at patient cases where we will actually meet patients and work on our medical skills with real cases! We also have clinical labs dedicated to learning how to insert an IV, ¬†take vitals and plenty more.
    • What I’m looking forward to: Getting a hands on approach to medicine, and getting to talk to patients in a hospital setting.
  2. Epigenetic and the Environment РSince I am still a biology major back at Bucknell, I had to enroll in a higher level biology course.  This course is dedicated to how the environment influences our phenotype. Our field studies include visiting a cancer research plant (my favorite area of study) and a stem cell center.
    • What I’m looking forward to: Visiting a Stem Cell Research plant where I’ll get to again get my hands on with some really cool dissections and interactions.
  3. Danish Language and Culture – Also being a Bucknellian means I am required to take the language spoken in the country I am in, therefore, I am required to take Danish. Most have never heard the Danish language and therefore, much of the pronunciation is incredibly foreign to me. But it will definitely be helpful to not stick out as much as an America, as the focus of the course is helpful conversation lines that would be used in everyday sentences.
    • What I’m looking forward to: Being able to order something in a restaurant without speaking English (questionable if this will happen because the Danish language, especially pronunciation, is really really hard and every Dane speaks english impeccably)
  4. Health Beyond Borders – Another class I am super excited about since Bucknell lacks public health courses. ¬†This class has an emphasis on looking at health care on a global scale and really understanding what global health is, what are its values, what are one’s rights to health and why should we care about health care (which a really interesting topic to me regarding the current status of health care in the US and the free health care of Denmark). We have already been split into groups by country, I am in Syria, where we will research health care tactics in these countries and evaluate and compare these countries. With this class we get to go to the¬†World Health Organization in Denmark.
    • What I’m looking forward to: Learning about Syria and the impact it has on other countries from a source that¬†isn’t the news.
  5. The Cultural History of Travel РThis class looks into tourism and how it has developed, where it has gotten us, and what the future holds for tourism.  Being a biology major, on the pre-med track, and wanting to study abroad my non-science classes have been very limited in the past so I am super excited to take a class that is out of the ordinary for me.
    • What I’m looking forward to: I’m most excited for this class not being science class (haha) but also learning about tourism especially since I’m basically spending five months as a tourist.

Despite the excitement of being in a foreign country, and not really wanting to focus on classes, doing so will be much easier with classes that seem so exciting and interesting. With only 15 hours of class a week, with the exception of some field studies that will add to the weekly total, I have SO much free time compared to previous semesters (last year I had 27 hrs/wk due to overloading to be able to study abroad).  Therefore, I am really looking forward to the academic aspect of my study abroad experience.

Much love

Margaret