I chose this program because it seemed like a great way to get in some much needed hours for PA school while also getting to experience healthcare in another country. Thessaloniki appealed to me because it is near the water and looked like a beautiful city from the pictures I had seen. I liked the size of the city and there seemed like a lot to do around the city when we had free time.
Victoria is from Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is a student at Clemson University majoring in biology. She has plans to attend PA school after graduation. She participated in the Atlantis Fellowship the summer before her junior year.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
We had to book our own flights to the program site, but once we got to the airport, they were there to help us get a taxi to our apartments. They made all of the housing arrangements. Our site managers took us on a tour of the city and would pick us up to take us to group dinners and the bus stop the first few days to ensure that we knew our way around. They were there to help us throughout the entirety of our fellowship.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
I would advise people to make an effort to learn a little bit of the language of the country they are going to. I feel like I didn’t do enough to try and learn the language beforehand. While it wasn’t a huge deal because most of the people we came into contact with spoke English, there were sometimes when the language barrier made things harder than they had to be.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
An average week as an Atlantis fellow consists of four days of shadowing at the hospital (roughly 5-6 hours a day), an all-day group excursion, and then your weekends are free for traveling or whatever you’d like. You also have free time each day after shadowing. Two times a week we would go to group dinners where we would all meet up and eat with the whole group and the site managers.
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 going into my fellowship was traveling out of the country by myself. I had never flown more than a few hours alone, so I was nervous about that. After making it to Greece by myself, I realized that traveling alone wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I feel more confident in my abilities to find my way around in places I haven’t been before.
What is the best way to get the most out of this fellowship?
I encourage anyone who participated in Atlantis to make the most of their fellowship! Going into the fellowship, I thought 3 weeks seemed like a long time, but my time with Atlantis flew by! It’s important that you are an active fellow and ask the doctors and nurses questions. At the end of the day, the fellowship is what you make of it! My site managers made sure to tell us that over and over but it is so true. Make the most of your time as a fellow and take advantage of this opportunity, it’ll be over before you know it.