Who is the best neurologist in Kochi

India (MSAI-India)

back

Inner - SCOPE (internship exchange)
from Leonie, Regensburg

motivation

Since I started my studies, like many others, I really wanted to go abroad. In particular, clinical traineeships and later also PJ-Tertiale are particularly good ways to get to know other countries, hospitals and health systems during your studies. If you want to save a lot of work in organizing an internship abroad (accommodation, organization with the hospital, etc.) as well as money and also get to know medical students from other countries, we recommend applying through the bvmd. If you are lucky, a social program is offered and the students organize excursions to great sights.

For a long time I thought about which countries I wanted to apply for. The decisive factor for me was on the one hand going to a country that interests me and in which I can go on vacation for a few weeks before or after. It should be exotic enough to get to know a "different world". Nevertheless, I wanted to learn something during my internship and it was important to me that at least the doctors could speak English well.
My choice then finally fell on India, which in retrospect turned out to be absolutely perfect. India is a beautiful country with huge, palm-fringed beaches, breathtaking temples and a rich culture. In addition, medicine in India is taught entirely according to the American school system, and thus in English. Therefore, all doctors speak perfect English. In addition to the language of instruction, all findings and medical consultations are in English. So ideal conditions to learn a lot but also to enjoy a great vacation.

preparation

Applying through the bvmd was actually super easy. You should just make sure that you get your English language proficiency certificate early enough. The DAAD language test, which is offered several times during the semester at every university, is sufficient. The test is really very simple and you don't have to prepare for it. At the end of the day you should collect as many points as possible in order to get the place you want. If you don't necessarily want to go to Canada, you don't need a lot of points for many countries. So it is by no means necessary to be active at the bvmd in order to get a place (I was never active either). Otherwise you have to hand in a letter of motivation (which I think no one will ever look at) and fill out a few documents.

visa

All information on this as well as the registration for a visa is available on this website: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html
If you only stay in the country for 30 days or less, an e-Visa is sufficient. To do this, you simply fill out the online form and 2-3 days later you will receive the visa by email - costs 60 USD. You then have to print it out (the email, not the attachments to the email).
But after I had to travel a bit in addition to my internship and therefore wanted to stay for more than 30 days, I had to apply for a 6-month visa. To do this, you also have to fill out an online form. In any case, state "Tourist" as the reason for your trip, as stated on the IFMSA India page. Then you have to go to the nearest consulate and then apply for the visa there. I went to Munich to do this and had to wait about 3 hours. For the application you also need passport photos in INDIAN (and not German) passport photo format. That is much bigger. Since several people apparently do not know this, there is a photo booth in the consulate where you can get the right passport photo for a cheap € 18. The visa is then ready exactly 7 days later and can then be picked up at the relevant consulate.

health

First of all: you will come into contact with tuberculosis 100% in India! Tuberculosis and other infectious diseases are very common in India (up to 70% contamination). You should definitely know this beforehand and act accordingly. I always wore a face mask in the ambulance because patients with open tuberculosis walk in there from time to time.
Otherwise I got vaccinated against all travel standards and even got the cholera oral vaccination. I also had the polio vaccination refreshed. India is polio-free, Pakistan, but the neighboring state is not. So it can still make sense, especially if you are traveling in the north. Otherwise you can read all vaccination recommendations here: https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Laenderinformationen/00-SiHi/IndienSicherheit.html

security

From India, you can sometimes see horrific reports of rape and vigilante justice on the news. I can only say: I never felt unsafe. However, I have also been to more touristy areas such as South India, Goa, Rajasthan and Maharastra. In more rural areas it is better to travel in pairs. I drove to Gujarat for 16 hours alone on the train (my internship was there) and always felt safe. The Indians are really friendly and I was invited to dinner at least once by all the families in the compartment. However, you have to get used to the fact that you are often stared at and that many people want to take photos with you. Especially if you're pretty pale and have blonde hair.

money

The currency in India are rupees. 70 rupees are about one euro. The cost of living is of course much lower than in Europe. You can get a real feast of curries and rice dishes with drinks in India for 100 rupees. The prices in the tourist areas such as Goa or Mumbai then rise except for European prices.
I had my comdirect credit card with me, which I could use to withdraw free of charge anywhere without any problems. If you want to book flights, accommodation or other things via Indian providers on the Internet, it can often happen that they only accept Indian credit cards. We always ran to the nearest travel agency with enough cash and had it booked there for an extra 100 rupees.

language

In addition to Hindi (and its various dialects), many people speak English as their mother tongue as the second national language. Communication was never a problem. Nevertheless, every Indian is happy about a “thank you” or “hello” in Hindi. But I haven't prepared myself particularly well.

Transport links

I booked the flight from Munich to Kochi and from Mumbai back to Munich about 2.5 months in advance and paid 600 €. I booked the flight with STA Travel. There I had the advantage that the flight could be rebooked free of charge. If I hadn't received the final confirmation a month before my internship, I could have shortened the travel period.
In India itself it is best to travel shorter distances with the dirt cheap public buses. They are a bit rickety and the driving style of the bus drivers is more adventurous, but the bus rides are really incredible experiences and you can spend hours watching the breathtaking landscapes and street life from the window without being bored for a second. For a few cents we drove through entire federal states by bus. A good alternative for longer journeys are the slightly more expensive night buses with small beds.
For long journeys, trains are particularly suitable, with which you can travel very cheaply in various classes and luxury versions, with a seat or your own bed. However, especially for popular routes to and from Mumbai and Delhi, you have to buy tickets about 2 weeks in advance. There are also separate contingents for tourists that are sold the day before, but then you have to be very quick because these tickets are also popular. A train ride in India is an incredible adventure and should definitely be on your to-do list.

communication

There was free Wi-Fi on the university campus, in the hospital and in every hostel or hotel. If you are there longer it makes sense to buy a SIM card as well. That’s pretty complicated, though. You need a copy of your passport, a copy of your visa and you have to fill out some documents in order to finally activate the SIM card via a call center.

accommodation

Together with another German student, I was housed in a student dormitory for girls on the university campus, which also housed the hospital. The room was really great. We had freshly made beds with good mattresses, a fan and air conditioning in the room and running, if only cold, water in the bathroom. In addition, each had a closet and a desk.

literature

In addition to a good travel guide (I had the Stefan Loose, it was really very good. Lonely Planet also recommended, but the recommended hostels and restaurants etc. are totally overcrowded) I had the book "Instructions for India" with me for the long train journeys. The author describes his experiences regarding Indian culture very nicely and tells his travel experiences. Highly recommended :)

To take with you

In any case, bring enough passport photos! You need them to buy a SIM card, for example, and the university also asked us to do 10 for different papers. A power bank for the cell phone is also highly recommended.

Journey and arrival

I arrived at the train station in Vadodara at 5 a.m. by train. The LEO had already written to me beforehand that they would pick me up, but shortly before that they wrote me a message that I should take a taxi to the university and that you would be there. Incidentally, this is something that you learn in India: a little too much is always promised but then often not kept. Most of the taxi drivers in Vadodara cannot speak English. With hands and feet and Google Maps, I made it to the university, which is quite a way out. There I was welcomed by the LEO and taken to my dorm room. The next day, over breakfast, I got to know the other exchange people and our contacts. We were shown the university campus and were then taken to the vice-rector to introduce ourselves and watch a video about the university.

Job description and professional impressions

I was housed in General Medicine with an Italian student. Basically, it's something like general medicine for us. Every new patient who comes to the hospital is first taken to the General Medicine outpatient department, examined there and then referred to other specialties if necessary. Lighter illnesses as well as illnesses from the field of internal medicine and neurology are treated by the general medicine doctors themselves. This has the advantage that you really see a lot of different diseases and learn to examine people. On the first day we were given a rough plan of how our internship is organized. We should first be in the outpatient department for two weeks, then one week in the ward and one week in the intensive care unit. We roughly adhered to it, but could look elsewhere without any problems if, for example, there was nothing to be done on the ward. In the ambulance, each of us was assigned to a room. We primarily watched the doctor question the patient. The doctor then usually translated everything into English for us, as the patients only speak Hindi. We could also do physical exams if needed. In addition, I should measure the blood pressure of every patient (still with a check silver measuring device). Although there wasn't much that could be done, I really liked it there because the doctors really explained a lot, you could see many different diseases and get a good insight into the health system and the working methods of Indian doctors.
For example, there are no computers in the entire hospital. The anamnesis, examination results, etc. are handwritten on block sheets, which are collected in a folder. Patients have to pay for all diagnostic measures themselves. Doctors therefore give a lot of thought to which measures are really necessary and many patients also refuse the necessary diagnostics if it seems too expensive for them. The hospital is specially designed for very poor patients. The government therefore pays half of the cost of an intervention. Many of the patients are therefore malnourished and you really see an extremely large number of infectious diseases that you would no longer find, especially in Germany, such as TBC. There are also up to 7 doctors in an ambulance room, all of whom receive and examine patients at the same time. So there really is no such thing as privacy. I was particularly impressed by the somewhat different relationship between highly educated doctors and the mostly uneducated patients from poorer regions. Doctors don't have much to say about the patient, and more often only about the patient. The patients often do not dare to speak to the doctor and are very humble towards the doctors, while the doctors often behave in a very unfriendly and instructive manner. For example, patients were not greeted and sent out of the room with a wave of their hand. That was something that I found very uncomfortable.
We couldn't really do that much in the ward and intensive care unit. But it wasn't a problem to always go to the pediatric outpatient clinic in the afternoon and learn another specialty.
The doctors and students all speak perfect English, as the entire course is based on the American school system and is therefore taught entirely in English. All documents and the conversations between the doctors are also only in English. With it you get a lot and you learn to explain medical facts in English. Almost without exception, everyone was enthusiastic about explaining and showing me a lot. I wasn't used to that from the German hospitals. Therefore I do not really recommend an internship in India and I have learned a lot.

country and people

Before starting my internship, I first traveled to South India. I found Kerala particularly beautiful. Here you can rent your own houseboat and sail through the beautiful backwaters through small palm-fringed waterways into the sunset and then spend the night on the houseboat. Not cheap but an absolute highlight. Nearby is a beautiful, not yet very touristy beach (Marari Beach). Then we went to Madurai with the two other international students who took me to Periyar National Park, where you can see wild elephants. One of the holiest, oldest and, above all, largest temples in India is located in Madurai. Here you can witness impressive temple ceremonies (every evening) and sit for hours and watch the fascinating temple life. We liked it so much that we spent 2 full days in the temple! From here we flew to Goa. I was already in Goa 2 years ago and was a bit disappointed, as the formerly wonderful white sandy beaches have now developed into real tourist strongholds. The north of Goa in particular is populated by Russian tourists and has nothing to do with what was originally India. If you are looking for a nice beach with beach huts, relaxed bars and tolerable crowds, I can most likely recommend Agonda Beach in the south. From here we are by night bus to Hampi. The ruined city is really very impressive but very shabby and poorly restored.

During my internship, I went on excursions to nearby cities every weekend with the other international students who were with me at the hospital. We were, for example, in Mumbai and the Ellora Caves (ABSOLUTE MADNESS !!!!), Ahmedabad (for Gandhi fans, otherwise rather little to see) and in Udaipur (beautiful city with great water palaces and a royal palace like from a fairy tale, but also quite touristy).
We received great support from our contacts at our university. For example, they helped us book tickets for the night buses and made contact with other medical students in the cities, where we were then allowed to spend the night.

The food in Gujarat (the state in which Vadodara is located) is vegetarian and often quite spicy. So this is not the ideal place for absolute meat disciples;) In addition, alcohol is forbidden (which does not prevent the male students from secretly getting something).

Conclusion

My expectations were not only met, but even exceeded by far. India is really a beautiful and fascinating country, with beautiful beaches, unique temples and a culture all of its own. The people were incredibly friendly and I always felt very comfortable. In addition, I learned a lot during my internship and saw many diseases that do not occur in Europe. In the end, I also made a lot of new friends and had a great time. I can therefore definitely recommend an internship abroad through the bvmd, and especially in India, and I would choose it again at any time!

back