Technische Universität Dresden (Germany)
Impressions of Germany
Caitlin Corkhill - medical student from Sydney Medical School, undertook an elective at Dresden University
"I am definitely safe and well and having an amazing time with the Cardiac surgery team in Dresden. The students over here have taken really good care of us - booking accommodation for us, helping us find our way around on the first day and taking us out on weekends to help get the social ball rolling.
The doctors at the Herzzentrum have all be fantastic too - very patient and very happy to teach. I've spent most of my time scrubbed in and assisting surgeries, learning how to suture, etc. The team has left it to me to decide how I want to split my time between the wards and the surgical theatre - very flexible!
The one piece of feedback I would give is that I think some German skill is necessary for the placement to work - not necessarily fluent (I'm definitely not, and I'm getting by ok), but the more the better. The surgeons all speak English well, but most theatre staff don't speak any, so all interactions are conducted in German. The ward work requires more German again, and I find ward days quite taxing on the translation centre! I'm certainly happy about the language situation, as one of the reasons for doing the placement was to challenge and improve my language skills, so I'm not suggesting changing the application criteria with regard to this. I did a series of lessons online to 'refresh' my German in the months before I came, and would strongly suggest that future applicants do something similar."