Communicating My International Internship Experience in the Future

This post is thanks to Marie Madden, a student at Towson University and a former ISA Featured Blogger. Marie interned abroad with  ISA Internships in Sydney, Australia in Summer 2012.

Reflecting on Professional Development | ISA InternshipsMy experience interning abroad in Sydney is undoubtedly providing countless opportunities that will benefit me in the future. Rather than serving me mainly in a job search, the experiences I gain while interning abroad will prove most beneficial in my medical school applications and interviews.

It’s important to be aware of the qualities that medical schools desire in their students so that I know how to most effectively employ my time abroad. The interview process is designed in such a way that the school is able to gain a better sense of the applicants’ personalities independent of their test scores, GPA’s, and letters of recommendation. The students that medical schools admit will result in doctors, so they are looking for applicants with the traits that we hope that our doctors have.

Typically, schools ask questions that will speak to the applicant’s character, morality, ethics, communication skills, hospital experience, and work ethic. Therefore, the experiences that reflect these characteristics in me are the best to highlight.

My internship working with Starlight Children’s Foundation will serve as my primary experience that I plan to discuss in order to make me stand out over the other applicants.

My role as an intern in a Medical Children’s Foundation is to perform any tasks that the captains need accomplished in the wards.  Their goal is to aid in the well being of hospitalized children, including those who are in isolation and cannot leave their rooms, by planning activities, playing games, and setting up arts and crafts. My involvement in such a selfless organization will hopefully reflect my compassion for others.

ISA InternshipsWhen I’m asked about my internship, I will be able to speak passionately about the specific experiences I encounter each day.

I’ve gained a great sense of appreciation for the service that my internship organization provides as my exposure to the hospitalized children has opened up my entire perspective. There is no adequate explanation that can effectively convey the effects that encounters with these children can instill.

My unique opportunity to help brighten the children’s days has changed my outlook on my own life and will provide me an outlet to convey my genuine sense of compassion for others, which will reassure schools that my intentions for becoming a doctor are genuine.

Additionally, my widened perspective will contribute to my maturity over the course of the internship. Medical schools place emphasis on maturity and it is often times the reason they prefer to admit students who are a few years out of college rather than students who have just graduated.

I also plan to describe some of the uncomfortable situations I encountered and how I dealt with being around such sick children. Medical schools want to be sure that applicants have been exposed to the hospital environment so that they don’t realize during their third year that they can’t handle blood or being around sick people.

I will be able to confidently say that I spent a great deal of time in the wards with children who are confined to their rooms and with kids who are often times very ill but are allowed to leave their rooms.

As a result, I’ll be able to discuss the variety of scenarios that I faced and how they all further reassured me that a career in medicine is the right path for me.

On top of the experiences I gain as an intern, there are countless ways to incorporate my experience abroad from living in a foreign country. However, perhaps one of the most important areas to highlight is my ability to communicate with people of all different ages, cultures, and countries.

Sydney Opera House ISA InternshipsAustralia is one of the most diverse in the world and Sydney is especially known for its wide variety of cultures. In my accommodation alone, there lives people from Chile, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Holland, and Belgium. I have come to be friends with people who speak little English, which will speak to my ability to communicate regardless of language barriers and varied communication styles. I have even learned to navigate a foreign city and make friends with locals, which can sometimes be difficult even though Australians speak English.

As expected with any two different cultures, Americans have different forms of etiquette in social situations. I’ve learned to adjust my tendencies if they are taken offensively here and not to be offended if they communicate in a way I might ordinarily find off color.

I plan to discuss these discrepancies in my interviews because if I can find success in social situations in which I am so out of my element all the time, I can handle any patient or coworker in my own country.

These experiences I plan to highlight in order to reflect my character are only a small fraction of the opportunities that I have to choose from. However, I can’t spend fifteen minutes talking about life abroad. I need to choose the most important traits that medical schools seek in applicants, so I will focus on my internship and explain how having an internship that is so significant to the medical field in a foreign country sets me apart from those who have not lived and worked abroad.

Fortunately, I still have a large portion of my internship remaining and will continue to gain more experiences and have more to speak about in the future.

The World Awaits…Discover it.

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