September 22, 2023

Being an Exchange Student in Egypt for A Month

Hello I’m Noormala Rizka, I’m 22 years old from CIMSA FK UNAIR. In this summer break, I joined professional exchange by SCOPE CIMSA, so that’s why I went to Egypt for and stayed there for a month. I flew from Jakarta on 30th June and had transit in Dubai and arrived at Cairo on 1st July. I still had to go to Beni Suef by microbus for 2 hours because I had to do my exchange activity in Beni Suef.

On the first day I came in Beni Suef, I just cleaned up myself and organized all my belongings at the apartment and didn’t forget to meet the others incomings, I had a great feeling after met them all because all of them are very welcome and nice even though they are older than me. On the next day I had a Pre-Arrival Meeting and the local committee told me about my activities for one month and also about cultures in Egypt especially in Beni Suef. I started my first day at the hospital on Wednesday 5th July because they said that others doctor just came back from holiday so they were ready at the hospital on Wednesday. On my first day at the hospital, we had a little introduction with doctors and others hospital staff there. All of them greeted us very well and I really had a great feeling with it. But I just have 1 operation because we have to alternate with others incomings because the schedule was not fixed at that time. First operation that I got was submandibular gland excision and it was very interesting, also there was a doctor who told me and my friends about procedure for that operation. On the 2nd day I had so many operations because we could explore all of operations in 1st and 2nd floor that specifically for surgery. So those several operations were cleft lip operation, femur fracture, removing bolt, and spleen tumor operation. Glad for me because I could see another operation in another department like orthopedy. On my 1st weekend, I went to Siwa for my 1st social program. Siwa is located on the border of Egypt and Libya, it took 12 hours to go there. When I was in Siwa I went to many palaces, salted lake, Siwa oasis, and also Sahara desert. I thought Safari at Sahara Desert was the best experience among all destinations in Siwa.

My 2nd week activities at the hospital started on Monday and I got so many new cases like congenital indirect inguinal hernia, bilateral tonsilitis, circumcision on g6pd deficiency patient. It was my first time to see hernia operation and as the time goes by, I realized that hernia is the most common cases in this hospital. It was very exciting because I can see an ear-nose-throat operation for the first time. It didn’t finish there, I also got to see a section cesarean operation and obstetrics is one of department that I have interest on. That was very cute to see the baby born and my heart melted at that time. For my 2nd social program I went to Dahab on Wednesday night. It took 8 hours long and we have to stay for one night at Sharm El-sheik first. Sharm El-sheik is the one of the best city I’ve ever been in Egypt. It’s reminded me of Bali because it have such a modern touch of cityscape but also have many beaches as their tourism object. We went to Dahab on the next day and directly went to blue hole beach and blue lagoon for snorkeling but I didn’t do snorkeling. We went to Twaylat mountain to see egyptian performances like belly dance and firework attraction. The next morning we headed to three pools beach and did the safari ATV to see the view from the mountain. When the night came, me and my friends walked around the market to see some souvenirs and I bought some. They continued to go hiking at Mount Sinai until the sun rises and I was staying at the hotel after they arrived we just heading back to Beni Suef.

And here we are on my 3rd week of exchange nothing special in this week because I just doing my regular activities at the hospital. But the funny thing is that me and some of my friend didn’t go to Luxor-Aswan for our social program. Because I thought that I need more time at the hospital. But I went to Cairo especially Egypt Mall in the 6th of October region. I watched Oppenheimer but with Arab Subtitle that was so funny because I couldn’t understand it clearly. I had a precious experience because I got to see a whipple surgery, a procedure of operation for pancreatic cancer. Usually It takes about 6-7 hours long but as long as I can remember the doctors there just need around 5 hours long to finished the operation. I also got chance to go to the clinic to see how the clinical procedure for general surgery works. it was kinda interesting and the nurse was so nice, she offered me a tea and almost all egyptian did that to regale their guest.

I got such an ups and downs feeling on my last week there. I just got my chance to be an assistant on my last day on the hospital because the local committees just had a miss communication with the hospital, but It still be a precious moment for me. I went to Cairo for my last social program but I also had to say goodbye to Beni Suef because I wouldn’t go back there. I went to Giza pyramid, Citizen Museum, Al-Azhar park, some mosque, also I went camping at Wadi Degla. And I was so glad to explore more about Cairo and strolled to downtown to eat some foods and the rice pudding was very good. I went to khan el khalili twice to buy the rest of souvenirs, and it really has a good price. On my last day I went to Coptic Cairo to see the hanging church but i didn’t have much time to see all of it. After that I just went back to hotel and took all my belongings and went directly to the airport. I arrived in Indonesia on 2nd August  it’s Wednesday night. I think those all for my exchange stories, glad to be back safely to Indonesia and I hope all the experience I got from egypt will be a good memories to keep and good knowledge to apply.

By: Noormala Rizka Fitri