While the primary purpose of a clinical experience is to fulfill educational or residency application requirements, the secondary purpose for many visitors is to experience local U.S. culture. Most clinical experiences take place during the weekdays, leaving visitors with the evenings and weekends free. With a little planning, effort, and good time management, many visitors use their free time to enjoy food, music, art, history, and museums that you can only find in the U.S.
Below we outline how to make the most of your free time. These tips can help turn your clinical experience into the experience of a lifetime.
Plan a Trip
Many AMO visitors extend their stay in the U.S. This allows them to see and experience more of the country since they might not know when, or even if, they will come back. While this is an excellent option for those with plenty of free time and extra money, it might not be realistic for everyone.
If you don’t have extra time or money to extend your stay, you can still experience a lot by utilizing the weekends. Consider taking a weekend trip to a location accessible by bus or train. If you do choose to take a weekend trip, make sure you leave yourself enough time to make it back for your scheduled clinical experience. A lapse in attendance could affect your ability to receive a letter of recommendation.
Ask for Opinions
During your clinical experience, you will build a relationship with your precepting physician and other medical professionals. These individuals can be great resources for determining the best ways to spend your time outside of the hospital or clinic. Be sure to ask for recommendations and personal favorites; doing so can help you connect with those you will be working with on a deeper level.
Keep it Simple
Have a slice of pizza at the restaurant outside your Airbnb. Give a dollar to the saxophone player in the park. Stop and listen to him play for a while. Unplanned experiences can sometimes be the most memorable. With planning comes expectations, which can be challenging to meet. Be open to the small things which give character to the city you are in. Examples of this may include trying out local eateries, going on a walk to view city murals, and visiting local outdoor spaces that could connect you to people or experiences that may lead to other adventures.
Consider Your Timing and Location
After reserving your clinical experience, research the location of your rotation, and the weather, holidays, and local event that will occur during your time in the U.S. The information you compile during this research can be impactful and inspiring.
Visiting the U.S. during the warmer, summer months means you can spend more time outdoors. Visiting during the winter means you will be dependent on indoor activities. If you rotate during the winter, you will probably spend more time indoors. This does not have to be negative, though. The U.S. has many outstanding museums. The winter months can be exciting as many holiday festivities take place during November, December, and January.
We hope the tips above inspire you to seek out opportunities to experience local U.S. culture outside of your clinical experience hours. For more ideas on how to spend your free time in the U.S., check out our AMO City Guides.
Ready to start planning what to do with your free time in the U.S.? Before you can do so, you need to secure your experience with AMO.