How I gained practical medical experience through a Physician's Assistant internship in Spain, with Intern Abroad HQ.

Aspiring Physician’s Assistant, Ivey Rodigo, joined Intern Abroad HQ for a 12 week Physician’s Assistant internship in Valencia, Spain. Read on to understand how she put her university studies into practice, made new friendships, and took positive steps towards achieving her long term career goals.

Hi Ivey! Tell us about your time in Spain, how did you find settling in?

I chose this specific Physician’s Assistant internship because I majored in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and want to eventually go to Physician’s Assistant school, so this internship was the perfect fit for me.

Coming into the internship experience, I was not expecting there to be so many other interns. It was so nice meeting others from all over the world and making new friendships. That was by far one of the biggest highlights for me, because I was nervous about finding others to spend my spare time with outside of my internship and host family.

Valencia is a pretty tight-knit community that fosters a sense of family, which is similar to the area that I live in in the US. This made settling in and making lasting friendships so much easier. I really appreciated the doctors at my placement being so inclusive, they really took the time to explain what they, or the patients, were talking about if I didn’t understand. I was really comfortable at my internship which allowed me to feel free to ask questions.

Medical internships in Spain, Intern Abroad HQ

What advice would you give to someone else considering an internship abroad?

I think going abroad or doing an internship in a culture that is different from your own all comes down to what you make of it. I would say to go into the experience with no expectations and keep an open mind to everything that comes your way. If you are willing to learn on the go and stay open to the advice of the people you work with, you will demonstrate to others just how much you want to be there. You will get more and more responsibilities based on this effort and create a sense of trust.

Being open to new things in a new culture can help you adapt and bring a whole new perspective. Additionally, I think self-reflection is beneficial when embracing a new culture and a new set of customs. It’s easy to be pessimistic or afraid of change, but taking a moment to reflect on how things are always going to be different from your own culture when you go abroad is necessary to move forward.

What day-to-day tasks were you involved in at your Medical internship placement?

During the internship, I gained the opportunity to work alongside medical professionals in a physical rehabilitation clinic. I was tasked with taking blood pressure, sitting in on patient consultations, discussing treatment plans, applying EKG leads to patients, performing shock wave and sonic stimulation therapy for muscles and joints. Being able to locate a specific area via ultrasound and drain a cyst on my own, with the doctor’s supervision and guidance, was a great learning experience.

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How did your internship help you to develop, personally and professionally?

My long term goal is to go into the medical field as a Physician Assistant, specializing in orthopedics. I have learnt so much about how to diagnose patients, think on my feet and come up with solutions for patients. I have learnt how to apply EKG leads, read ultrasound machines, apply shock wave therapy for muscles and tendons, undertake reflex tests and prepare onsite injections. With all this clinical experience under my belt, I feel confident in my application to Physician’s Assistant school.

I also learnt more Spanish and improved my comprehension simply because I was surrounded by it all day, everyday. This will help me in future because living in California there is a high hispanic population, and I want to be able to advocate for them if needed in the medical field.

Would you consider your internship abroad a success?

My goal for this internship was to improve my sense of teamwork, practice my Spanish and explore my passions. I successfully collaborated with a range of new people, shared experiences and learned so much. I feel so much more confident in my Spanish language skills, and have used this internship to explore my passion for the medical field, only making myself more sure that this is the path I want to take in my future career.

Some of my internship successes included the doctors trusting me to take on more responsibility in the office and with patients, and answering questions correctly based on the knowledge I have obtained since being abroad. My regular patients would tell me that my Spanish had improved since they last saw me which only further demonstrated my growth and learning!

Looking back on your Physician’s Assistant internship in Spain, what were your favorite memories?

My favorite takeaways from my internship experience was meeting so many new people that I now call my friends, getting to apply all my knowledge from school, the connections I made with the doctors and actually practicing in a real life clinic.

I have gained a lot of confidence and learned so much, it makes me feel more empowered as I go forward with the medical field. I would still like to be fluent in Spanish so I am going to continue practicing and now that I am back home, I am going to start working and volunteering in a hospital until I apply to graduate school as a Physician’s Assistant. I plan to continue working on myself to become a better and more well rounded person.

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