Liza Toemen in South Africa in 2012, where she was completing a clinical clerkship in gynaecology & obstetrics. In the background are penguins on Boulders Beach, Simonstown.
For the past 4 years, Global Pediatrics faculty, Maria Kroupina, has provided research mentorship to physicians in training from Maastricht University, Netherlands. Today's entry is a guest post from our 2013 research intern, Liza Toemen. In her words:
"My name is Liza Toemen, I'm a final year medical student from Maastricht University, The Netherlands. I was born in Oirschot, a town near Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands. A long time ago I decided I wanted to become a doctor, and luckily for me things went as I had dreamed.
"I went off to Maastricht to study, a place at the most southern point of the country.
Taking care of children at a children's institution in Mfulene, South Africa
"During my medical bachelor years I had the opportunity to do some volunteering with Aviva, a South-African organization. I spend 4 weeks working in a children's home in Mfulene, one of Cape Town's townships. We took care of about 30 children, mostly playing with but also bathing, feeding and preparing food for these children, some of whom had no permanent foster or adoptive family to go home to. Afterwards I went traveling in South Africa. I liked this so much that I grabbed every opportunity during my masters years to go abroad.
"My first internship was an elective of 10 weeks, which I decided to do in paediatrics in Mulago Hospital; Kampala, Uganda. During my stay I also visited a hospital in Gulu, in the north of Uganda, a very impressive experience, since it was my first practical experience in the hospital.
"After this internship my normal internships at all the different hospital specializations started. Most of those I did in the Netherlands, but I did ophthalmology in Belgium and gynaecology and obstetrics in Cape Town (yes, again Cape Town, you can never see too much of South Africa!)
"In the Dutch medical curriculum you do 3 bachelor years, mainly theory and 3 master years, mainly practical. The last year of the masters degree consists of 18 weeks' clinical internship and 18 weeks of research.
"I've just finished the clinical part in March--18 weeks on a general pediatric ward of a middle-sized hospital. The research part is why I have come to the University of Minnesota.
"I'll be doing 18 weeks of research at the U of M and helping Dr. Kroupina in the Development and Transition Clinic. I'm assisting with data analysis on her Kazakhstan study and will also write a paper. Later, I will also spend time on the growth study.
"My goals I'll finish halfway August and when I get home a couple weeks after that I hope to be able to call myself a MD."