Traveling to a new country is bound to be a cultural experience. However, Vania, an AMO visitor from Paraguay, found a deeper, more enriching cultural experience in her clinical rotation than she ever expected. Read Vania’s story below!

Cultural Energy Boost

After living in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Georgia, and Azerbaijan throughout my childhood years, it was in Asuncion, Paraguay, my home country, where I decided to go into Medical School. I always knew that I would miss the cultural diversity I had experienced so many years, but my priority had shifted to improving my medical knowledge as best as I could. As a third-year medical student, I decided to challenge myself and face my first observership in Pasadena, California.

I arrived at Dr. C.’s office expecting a medically enriching experience, and I left with so much more. As a family medicine practice, we saw many types of cases. I had the opportunity to observe and learn about routine physical exams and taking patient history at Dr. C.’s private practice, a community hospital, a tertiary hospital, and a home for senior patients. I learned about OBGYN, allergies, diabetes, and diagnosing psychiatric disorders like Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. I could tell from the start that all her patients were extremely grateful and had a deep trust in Dr. C.

It wasn’t only her profound medical knowledge and extremely kind, patient-centered approach that gave me a hint of the type of physician I would want to become, but how welcoming she was to all her students from diverse cultural backgrounds. I was so happy to feel the warmth of diversity again. This time I had the opportunity to learn about Greek culture and how fascinating it is. Dr. C. even invited me to try delicious and authentic Greek gyros! Thanks to AMOpportunities, I had the opportunity to meet IMG and US physicians who I still keep in touch with, including Dr. C.

I realized how important it is to learn about different cultural backgrounds and experiences as it will not only make us better physicians but a better human being.