Alumni Spotlight: Giovanna Stefanutto

As a multicultural person herself, Giovanna is always looking to travel and explore the unknown, while taking steps closer to her dream of becoming a surgeon.

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Why did you choose this program?

Atlantis sounded "too good to be true" initially. However, once you go through their pre-departure process and attend their program, everything comes to reality. Atlantis offers an extraordinary balance between the professional, educational, and life-changing opportunity of shadowing doctors in countries abroad, as well as a social network between all its fellows and staff. It provides you the best of both worlds while keeping their main objective of higher education and learning in priority.

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

Atlantis pre-departure team should be congratulated with their optimal organizational agenda. Although there were some glitches here and there during the application process, the overall pre-departure process worked out smoothly. You are connected with a Pre-Departure Coordinator who is exceptional in helping you prepare for the program and get all your questions out of the way. Atlantis provides several methods of funding and aid to help the students pay for their program and other ways of coping with traveling and studying abroad.

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

Make sure to take every word of advice the Pre-Departure Coordinator gives you. It is crucial to be very organized so you do not have to run after complications last minute or once you are abroad. Programs like these have several small details that have to be taken care of so your experience is memorable.

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

Your day begins early. You are up before the sunrises, and you are at the hospital together with most physicians. You are required to dress formally and adequately according to the department you are allocated to.

Use cardiac-surgery for instance; essentially you are able to wear anything you'd like, especially comfortable shoes since you'll be standing for very long hours. Once you arrive at the OR, you will change into your scrubs, and you're off to start your day. Maybe a surgery or two, three if you are lucky!

In rounds, you are required to wear your lab coats and business casual attire underneath. The interaction with doctors and nurses depends truly on the department you are. Personally, all doctors spoke English and were able to guide me through their process of thinking easily, otherwise medical students were more than happy to assist us. You get to accompany step-by-step the busy days of some of the most incredible and talented physicians in the hospital.

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 was to not be able to experience the true essence of medicine through shadowing. Observational learning grew in me; it plays a much larger part in your learning and understanding of things than one might give it credit. Shadowing doctors allowed me to take a closer look in their work, ethic, responsibilities, and how they work around them.

Is shadowing actually worth it?

Absolutely! You would be impressed on how much it can change how you think about certain aspects in medicine, how you view certain fields, whether you consider other specialties or how you learn more about others.

It gives you a point of view that you do not get from google search or reading textbooks.

It is different than volunteering as volunteers are restricted in many ways. Shadowing is an essential part of learning in the medical field that every student should be exposed to at least once.