Pheena in Berlin – first impressions in the unknown German capital

My name is Pheena Abade, a medical student at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. I have always had big dreams but unfortunately they have always been just that, dreams. Then I got the opportunity to do an internship at Charite, and boy, wasn’t I excited about that. One of my dreams was finally coming into being. At first all I could think about was touring Europe and seeing all those exciting places, forgetting all other things involved. I did some virtual touring then reality struck, I was going to a foreign country, all alone, to a foreign people, language and culture. That’s when the panic set in. After playing in my head all the possible scenarios of how the trip would turn out, I did what anyone in my shoes would do, I accepted the challenge. Little did I know is that it was truly going to be an eye opening experience, cliché I know, but it really has been. From discovering my no-existent map reading skills, to interacting with the warm people who not even the gloomy weather can bring down, to the party people, it has been one amazing ride. It being my first time in Berlin, I thought nothing could possibly be more beautiful, till I went to Prague, yes; I finally got to do a real tour too. My greatest challenge however came when I got to see what medical students in this side of the world are doing. I then took it upon myself to do what I have always wanted to do, something small but in a great way. Not to be just another medical student but to give back to the society that has made me all that I am today while at it. I have been doing a study on nosocomial infections; to look into what more can my hospital at home do to make the place a safer place for the patients and not a health hazard. With the help of the doctors at the German national reference center for surveillance of nosocomial infections, I hope to come up with a model for a surveillance system for nosocomial infections that can be used at hospitals at home to help reduce the rate of these infections. The most important thing that this experience has reminded me is what it really means to be a doctor, always giving more than you receive, always helping without expecting anything in return and smiling through it all.

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