Hi! I am Made Ayu Rheina Putri, but my friends usually call me Rheina. I am a fourth year medical student in Universitas Airlangga and most importantly, I am a member of CIMSA FK UNAIR. This July, I got a chance to experience a wonderful journey to the country on a different side of the world, more than 10.000 km away from Indonesia, Sweden. Through this article, I’m going to summarize my whole one month exchange story.
My trip to Sweden began at July 30th 2023. I took 4 flights in total, which are flight from Surabaya to Jakarta, Jakarta to Dubai, Dubai to Stockholm, and Stockholm to Umeå. I have to spend more than 24 hours in total until I arrived at Umeå airport. I took the flight from Surabaya to Jakarta with my parents and I had to say goodbye to them at Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta. My flight to Umeå was indeed lonely, but also interesting at the same time because it was my first “alone” international flight, so it was pretty good to call it as a “me time”. But, my flight from Stockholm to Umeå unfortunately got delayed for about one hour. As I arrive at Umeå, I was picked up by two students whose currently studying as medical students at Umeå. They also drove me to my apartment.
On the first day of my exchange, I met the department’s administrator to manage my access card at the hospital and my locker. After everything was settled, she took me to join the morning meeting and introduce me to the staff of anesthesia department, which I was assigned to for my exchange. Then, she took me to meet my supervisor. Thankfully, my supervisor was very kind and generous to teach me lots of things and translate to me about everything that everyone talked about since they always talk to each other in Swedish. After he took me to walk around every room at the anesthesia department, he assigned me to join a surgery. It was a laparascopic cholesystectomy. My supervisor asked me to join him to do the pre-operative assessment for the cholesystectomy patient. After everything was clear and settled, the patient went to the OR and the anesthesia staff will put him under general anesthesia. After the anesthesia staff were done with every pre-operative procedures, the surgeons start the surgery. After it ends, the anesthesia staff will perform procedures to wake up the patient and send him to the post-operative ward. That was basically everything that I did everyday during my exchange program. But, of course, everyday was a totally different and interesting case.
The most satisfying and memorable surgery that I joined was a robotic surgery. This type of surgery was done with the robotic machine that acted similar as the surgeon’s hands. This technology mimics the laparascopic surgery. With this machine, the surgeon is able to do the surgery by controlling the machine’s “console” that is away from the patient. With this technology, the effectiveness of the surgery will be improved and the risk of complications for the patient will be lowered. At Norrlands University Hospital where I was assigned for my exchange, they use the robotic surgery for a few different surgery cases, which are hysterectomy, pancreastectomy, prostatectomy, rectum resection, and liver resection. I was very grateful for the chance to join every surgery that is done by using the robotic machine because I never got to see that kind of technology in real life.
During my exchange program, it is not just the hospital life that is worth to be written in this article. The social programs are also played a big role! Every medical students who are part of the IFMSA arranged lots of exciting activities during our stay. On the first day of our exchange, they invited us to the welcoming dinner that was held in one of the student’s house. It was a simple yet lovely evening. On the other day, they asked us to join them to the city tour, national food and drink party, barbeque night at the lake, and so on. Not just randomly sitting and eating together, they also arranged some sports activites that are perfect to do in summer. They were hiking, beach volleyball, and the Swedish game: Brännboll.
My time that I spent in Sweden was very great and worth the long hours of flights. Everyone I met during my stay was very kind and warm. It was definitely an amazing once in a lifetime experience for me to travel that far north of the Earth and to learn such a different culture and medical system.