Reflection by Kenyan Medical Student, Tume

Preparation

There was a lot of excitement during this time; excitement of going to a new place, meeting new people and of experiencing a whole new culture. The visas took a little longer than expected but with the help of Rachel Spitzer and Sarah Ellen Mamlin who worked tirelessly through the whole process, we managed to get the visas on time.

Arrival and Orientation

After more than twenty hours of travel, we finally landed in Toronto.  We were met by Angela Ma at the airport and her warm reception made us feel at home right away. We headed straight to the hotel, our new home for the next six weeks. We then had our first dinner in Toronto at an Italian restaurant. The following day was orientation day with Joe George. He took us around town and I got on the subway for the first time – what an efficient means of transport with no traffic!

Hospital rotations

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre 

I started my rotation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where I got to experience the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, including the clinics, labour and delivery and the operating rooms.  I worked alongside an amazing team of doctors. I had Dr. Dini Hui as my supervisor and my first preceptor – she made patient care look like a favourite pastime.  I had my first 24-hour call the first weekend of my rotation and experienced my first ever laparoscopic hysterectomy. It was an amazing experience!

Mount Sinai Hospital 

I started rotating at Mount Sinai Hospital during my forth week in Toronto and had the same great experience as I did at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.  I worked with really amazing people, observed outstanding teamwork and was mid-boggled by the technology.

Extracurricular activities

We got to experience the diversity of Toronto through the foods and festivals.  We had Italian, Polish, Greek and Turkish food among others.  I must say, my taste buds never got disappointed. Sightseeing was another interesting aspect of the program. Rachel Spitzer offered to take us to Niagara Falls with her family.  The scene was breathtaking!  Rachel, I could not be more grateful.  We visited a number of other places, including the Ripley’s Aquarium, the downtown beaches,  Toronto Islands and many others. We had a couple of dinners too; with Dr. John Kingdom and his wife, with Rachel to welcome our visiting doctors from Kenya, and with Joe George and his family.  It was all great fun!

Conclusion

Electives were a good learning experience for me.  I got to see a lot of new things and also appreciate new ways of doing things.  I hope my knowledge will benefit Moi University and Kenya as a whole.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to everyone I met along the way during my electives at the University of Toronto.  I worked alongside very amazing doctors, medical students and nurses at both Sunnybrook and Mt. Sinai and learned a lot from them all. Of special mention is Dr. Rachel Spitzer –  my stay would not have been as comfortable and fun without her.  She ensured we had the best of everything and I am truly grateful. Joe George made settling in and adjusting to the city much easier and his kindness was unmatched.  Angela Ma provided me with  warm reception on my very first day, and Sara Ellen worked so hard to make the whole process a success. Thank you so everyone!

 

-Tume

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