Hello! Sorry for the delay in posting since my arrival last week. It has been quite a week! I arrived on Monday with my 2 friends, Andrea and Sarah (also med students, we are all doing this rotation together, kudos to sarah for organizing it all!) and Josh met us at the airport as he was in Europe on business and visitng some friends. It was quite exciting walking off the plane and getting to see him!
We all ventured to the city together and were met by the global education coordinator, Drago at the bus station who drove us to our dorm. We are staying at the Public Health dorm which is VERY nice. Its sort of like a hotel actually. We have a 2 bedroom suite fr the 3 of us with our own bathroom and a communal kitchen down the hall. We even have cleaning services during the week...pretty awesome.
Our first day of work was spent getting oriented to the medical school and hospital where we will be working, called Rebro. It is a decent sized campus with a few different buildings for patient care as well as research. Our physician mentor, Robert Likić (I am on a croatian computer so I can use the proper letter, pronounced leek-ich) is great! He is super enthusiastic and loves americans especially the university of michigan and ann arbor! He spent 6 months at UM which is how we got his name as a contact. As it is a new agreement between the schools we are the first group of med students to venture over here.
The afternoon of our first day here (tuesday) we spent wandering the city and doing Rick Steves walking tour. Josh was still around so luckily he got to see a good amount of zagreb in his short stay here. It is a really nice city, not as big and affected by tourism as many of the other countries i have been to in europe which was nice, and hardly any americans, weve probably seen a total of 10 since our arrival here! But, luckily, many croatians are very good english speakers so we have been able to get around quite well. At the hospital all the doctors speak english fluently though few of the patients likely will, so as it was in israel, this will mostly be a shadowing rotation (considering thats all they let me do last month on derm and that was in america, i am definitely OK with it!)
A quick history tidbit from Robert about croatia: They were part of yugoslavia until 1991 when they declared independence and democratically elected a president, however, many Serbs were still living in croatia (about 10% of population) and they rebelled against this elected government and had the serbian military force behind them making times very tough for croatians. Robert said he was studying in the library in high school and heard a few bombs go off nearby and as he was getting under the table for protection a bomb hit his school! Miraculously nobody was injured or killed. The man responsible for this civilian attack (cant remember his name...) was later tried and convicted and is now in jail. The war lasted until 1995 when croatia built up a strong enough military to fight back and push out the serbian rebels.
Next entry will be about what I have been doing the last few days...