Alumni Spotlight: Sara Durphy

Sara is a Sophomore majoring in Exercise Science on the Pre-Medical Tract at Towson University in Towson, Maryland. She wants to eventually work in Cardio Thoracic surgery to help save people from cardiac disease; which encouraged her to intern abroad in Athens Greece through the Atlantis Project.

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Why did you choose this program?

Before choosing the Atlantis Project I was very clueless on the idea of shadowing and spending days in the hospital with doctors. Also, with the idea of wanting to stand out to graduate schools, I started doing research.

After spending many days and hours researching, I came across the Atlantis project. I decided that shadowing doctors abroad would give me a leg up for applying to graduate school and took the initiative to go. This program was everything I wanted and more.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The Atlantis Project was very helpful throughout my entire experience. With people answering emails constantly to weekly webinars to help the students studying abroad.

I was provided with housing and many meals, as well as a direct in into the hospitals. However, I was responsible for lunch every day and some dinners. Transportation to and from the internship was provided every day making life easy.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

My favorite thing to tell people when they are considering doing this program is to take initiative and do it. I like to tell people about how the experience was life-changing and touched me in ways so unique to the country. I tell all my friends thinking about going overseas that it is one of the best things I have ever done and to jump at the opportunity.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day during this program was:

  • Wake up at around 6:30 am for shadowing and get ready.
  • Walk to the bus stop at around 7:10 am.
  • Go to the hospital until around 2:00 pm.
  • Take bus back and go explore the city.
  • Eat dinner at around 7:00 pm.
  • Finish day by going and exploring more, then heading home.
  • Once a week we would go on excursions instead of shadowing.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear about going abroad was being so far away from home. However, being overseas made me realize that no matter how far away home may be the people there will always be there for you and available for you to contact. Also, the friends I made abroad helped make it a lot easier to be that far away.

What was your favorite part of your time abroad?

Well, my favorite thing to see in the hospital was an aortic valve replacement. This was super cool and fun to watch the surgeons actually fixing a real heart. It was way cooler than seeing it on television.

The best thing about the city itself was seeing the Parthenon and hiking the tallest mountain (Mount Lycabettus) in Athens. Both of these seemed very historic and came with views that were to die for.