At the beginning of August 2021 the most wonderful month in Malaga had started. When I got out of the plane a hot weather hit me immediately. I met my first exchange classmate already at the slovak airport, so we travelled together all the way to our dorms in Malaga. Later, in the middle of the night our contact person Maria picked us up at the airport and showed us the way to the dorms.
After travelling all night and not getting enough sleep, first day in lab had started. My research project took place in a private lab named Xenogene. Usually this project takes place in University of Malaga, but in August universities all over the Spain are closed. I was assigned to work on my project with Milica from Serbia. We were supposed to work on the project, which focuses on new advances in photodiagnosis, phototherapy and photoprotection, but our main tutor Dr. Silvia Mercado has decided to changed it.
After first 2 years on medical school I gained some lab skills, but due to covid-19 situation not as many as I should gain. That´s why I was so excited about working in a lab. On the other hand learning new things by reading scientific articles was also very important for me. We spend our time in the lab working with research databases like pubmed. We worked on 2 research topics. First week we covered microbioma in pharynx, on the second week we were mainly reading studies about covid-19 in wastewater. After 2 weeks doing statistics, solving medical questions and watching doctors doing their job my roommate got covid positive.
Now i need to admit, that our spanish contact people did a great job. They kept all the restrictions, tested all of us in few days, so we didn ´t have to be stucked in quarantine.
In my opinion one of the most important things about summer exchange is the social program. Thankfully, medical students from Malaga cared about us and they wanted for us to have many experiences and see as much from Spain as possible. During the week we went for a boat trip, had a fancy dinner and tried typical see food. We played volleyball at the beach and spent time together with other exchange students. We also had a National drinking and food party, where every country present their most famous food and drink and the others had tried it. Every single weekend we went for a trip to a different city. I can confirm that we have travelled through the whole Andalusia. First city we have visited was Granada, where the biggest monumet is Alhambra. Consequently we have travelled to Sevilla, Cordoba, Rhonda, Marbella and Nerja. My favourite trip was to Caminito del Rey, which is famous for the path (“path of death”) and a beautiful lake with sky-blue clear water. Besides this, Malaga was the city that touched my heart the most. This city has so many beautiful beaches, where we have spent our time after lab and hospital. I think it´s very rare to see a huge city right next to the sea surrounded by mountains. There is not a single thing you could miss in Malaga.
To sum up I can say Spain overcame all my expectations. I fell in love with spanish language, people were always friendly and ready to help. There are no many people that speak english in Spain, so I was forced to learn a little spanish as well. This whole month passed so fast, but I´m very thankful for this opportunity, that my faculty and IFMSA have given to me. I can say that I´ve met my new friends and future colleges, with who I want to stay in touch as long as possible. I couldn´t ask for a better exchange.