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兵庫医科大学医学会
兵庫医科大学への交換留学

Japan Adventure Report

● Damijan Šimičić (University of Rijeka)

damijan01.pngFirst of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who helped us in organizing all this and made it possible…

When I was coming to Japan, I didn’t know what to expect. It was totally a new world for me, revealing another part of Earth. We started our trip from Venice in Italy. We flew from Venice via Dubai to Tokyo. We stayed 4 days in Tokyo. First impression from Japan that I felt was when we landed at Narita airport. The doors opened, we got out of the plane. Through the corridor, we entered customs service. There was one woman talking loud and putting us in line, explaining how to fill in the forms. In that situation, my first contact with Japanese culture and people, I felt core of my all other impressions. I was gently put in the line. That means I realized Japan is country of good organization and order. At the beginning I was confused because I wasn't used to it. Also, that lady was very gentle. She showed respect to us. While we were moving in the line I was watching how she was so committed to the job despite it was a very simple job. Later I realized that most of people are like that.

We stayed at a cheap hostel in Asakusabashi. My friend Dora was like our personal guide, because she has very good skills in organization. We saw many temples, shrines, tall buildings, museums. For me, the most special was «Miraikan» National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Very important is that almost everything was interactive, and there were many live presentations, like the robot «Asimo». Impressing was that there was also the professor that invented invisible coat. He was talking with children and other visitors, and answering questions. If only I could have that chance, I thought. That is a good and interesting example how to popularize science.

In Tokyo, we didn’t have much contact with Japanese people, so we were looking forward to coming to our final goal at Hyogo College of Medicine. We took Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka. It was totally new experience of driving with the train. In Osaka, Ms. Risa Otsuji, Hiroko, Ayaka and Ryota, our contact students waited for us and organized us everything. I was impressed by organization everything in details, and everyone was so punctual.

damijan02.pngAt Hyogo College of Medicine we had acceptance. Everyone gave us so much importance that I wasn't used to have. Beautiful manners like making a bow or removing shoes while entering the house became part of my everyday life. And soon I realized how good it is. Eating with chopsticks was a little bit problems at the beginning, but soon, in order to survive, I mastered that skill, and everyone told me that I’m doing it very well.

The biggest problem with the food was that we didn’t know what we order, because we didn’t know Japanese language. Every meal was surprise for us, sometimes we got sweet expecting something salty, and opposite. I remember one of the best meals were Kobe beef and barbecue with self-service as much as we could eat. We in Croatia eat much more than people in Japan, so it was real feast for us.

Hospital practice at Hyogo College of Medicine was interesting in many ways. I felt friendly atmosphere between professors, doctors, nurses, and students. Smiling faces all around me, although these people work all day. So it is really possible to work hard, have a good job and enjoy it, and be well paid for it. Also professors and other doctors treated me with respect like their colleague. They even sometimes asked me for advice. I saw many cases of severe illness at Critical Care Unit like heavy burns, sepsis, open abdomen treatment, abdomen trauma, etc. I learned a lot despite not so perfect ability of Japanese people to speak English, because they were investing so much effort trying to explain me something or answer some of my demanding questions.

damijan01.pngAll in all, it was a great experience for me in every way. I learned a new culture, created many contacts and friendships, learned a lot for my professional knowledge and gained experience of working abroad. I would recommend this to everyone who is willing to work hard and gain a lot, respect many differences in culture, and change their life in a better way, because goodness of Japanese people is something that can’t leave you indifferent.

兵庫医科大学 〒663-8501 兵庫県西宮市武庫川町1番1号 TEL:0798-45-6111 (代)

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