Although I have only begun my journey I know that my time here will be finite. But, I am definitely set to make the most of it!
My most important goal during my stay in Cyprus is to improve my Greek communication abilities. Reconnecting and relearning a language I grew up with was a huge draw to bring me to Cyprus and I am taking almost every opportunity to practice with the locals. Simple things like ordering coffee in Greek have become natural but I still struggle with larger tasks like negotiating a phone plan. It has been so welcoming that all the Cypriots have been so patient and encouraging while I am trying to practice. Of course, my weekly 3 hours of Greek class has probably helped me see the most marked improvement.
I know that so many of my personal and professional goals will improve with my Greek speaking ability. Personally, I would really enjoy getting to know the locals better and learning about the world from their perspective. Even something as simple as sharing a family dinner would be a very intimate and educational experience.
Another goal I have developed is to gain a better understanding of European medicine and its approaches to pressing medical issues. Something that has taken me by surprise is the amount of young medical students I have met so far. Unlike in the United States, medical training starts right out of high school and I have already met several 18 and 19-year-old first-year students around campus. In fact, some of the students are even in my regular classes as the first years all have classes at the main campus. Personally, I would really like to understand how their system works and see some of the benefits and drawbacks of starting medicine so early. I believe most of my learning will happen through conversations and a mutual understanding that everyone wants what is best for their patient.
Academically, I have also positioned myself to learn about healthcare decisions in Europe. This semester I will be enrolled in a bioethics course and even from the first two lessons, I can see slight differences in our approaches. While it can be a little difficult to change my perspective on some issues, I plan to keep an open mind and understand that both approaches are just as valid to reach a conclusion. I know that learning to understand and respect different attitudes to risk/ benefit analysis and tough decisions will be so important for my career down the line.
I cannot wait to see what I learn this year and I hope to accomplish everything I have set out to do and more!