My Amazing Time in Guangzhou

Hello everyone, I’m Nathalie. I have had the most amazing experience with the AACC Shadowing program! Before this program, I had volunteered/shadowed at some hospitals in Germany and in the USA, however I had never gained as detailed an insight into the work physicians in a hospital as now. First of all , we could follow the doctors very closely and watched as they diagnosed patients, did minor procedures, or even performed intricate surgeries. Furthermore, we could ask all the questions we had and discuss anything with the doctors. My personal favorite was a diabetic foot amputation, which was really mind blowing to witness! Some other ones I found very interesting were the less invasive surgeries (such as one where they drilled the tiniest hole in the brain to drain out some blood), since I could see the effort being made for a shorter future recovery time.

Such an extensive experience is very rare to come by, and although I was hoping for it, I did not believe it was actually possible. But it was!!! We shadowed multiple different hospital departments, learning about the basic functions and ways of each, whether it was patient-oriented or something like the pharmacy or pathology. Chinese knowledge helped me a lot, but it is not necessarily needed (there is always someone who can translate present), since the program is made with the goal of shadowing and not language learning , so that all students interested in medicine are welcome.

One department that was especially interesting for me was the Traditional Chinese Medicine department. I found it very interesting to learn how both sides of healing (traditional Chinese and western) can complete each other. We all tried a bit of cupping therapy and other eastern remedies.

I also enjoyed that the doctors were so open to speaking with us and answer our questions, even though they were extremely busy. Once, after a doctor had just completed a surgery, he himself took the initiative and specially took the time to teach us some anatomy! Each day, the doctors have a 2-hourlunch/rest break (if they don’t have a surgery planned), which they can use to sleep and regenerate for further work and assignments. This too, I found a very good approach. We usually used the time to
have some lunch and then hang out and chat as a group.

Of course, there was also plenty of cultural time prepared for us at Lantai. Many evenings, we would head to taiqi, the art of tea, calligraphy, or flower arrangement. Though each class was very different and unique, they all shared the same ambiance of extreme calm and relaxation. I loved to learn in the culture classes we got the chance to participate.

Every week, we had some days to explore the city of Guangzhou and just enjoy ourselves, so that apart from our amazing time at the hospital, we also have many other fun memories to think of. My favorite activity was just waking around and exploring, occasionally finding a small gem somewhere we hadn’t even planned to go, but the plans already set in place by the program were just as exciting. The city IS very humid, though, and it rains a lot, so absolutely take an umbrella!!

The food at Lantai, where we were staying, was always delicious! Here I really need to say a big THANK YOU to all the chefs. Starting with an amazing breakfast, you made my day!!! I loved the food!

Daniel, our director and translator, was to help us with translation if needed. I also would like to thank the Lantai employees who all together were extremely kind so that we felt very welcomed. Mrs. Cai explained to me anything I wanted to know more. She was an exceptional host for us all!

If you are thinking about what to choose for your summer: some fun sightseeing or something educational and you are not yet sure, go with this program. It has everything in it and you will never regret your decision. Sooo happy to have participated, I will return for sure!

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