Overseas Electives: Meeting New Friends

J. has the remarkable fortune of having at least one relative at the place he did his overseas elective. Besides the obvious practical advantages of having a place to crash [at], a car NOT to crash, a guide to the city, presence of laundry/scrub cards, a person to share in the chores, one of my favourite is being introduced to friends of the relative. Otherwise, J. would probably have had a harder time of meeting people, this period of time being when most university students are off for break, the 4th (Final) year medical students unofficially graduated while awaiting convocation, and not connecting entirely with the people in hospital.

As it was, however, the first night he touched down, he was already introduced to his brother’s close bunch of friends, which included an enthusiastic, humourous chap who befriended J. readily.

It was through these friends that J. gained a feel of medical student life in Canada as compared to Singapore.

Almost every week, the bunch of them meet up for lunch, dinner or supper, just to catch up on things. As a good number of them are Asians, they prefer to frequent Asian food places. For instance, the first day, J. met them at 168 Tea Shop, a chain that sells bubble tea and Taiwanese cuisine. Side comment: J. likes the Taro-Coconut combination. One food place popular with medical students is Wonder Sushi which offers an a la carte buffet. The quantity and variety of sushi make up for the slight deficit in quality.

Over the course of his rotations, J. went to a new friend’s daughter’s high school Junior Music Night to watch her extremely skilled solo cello performance. He played darts and street hockey (with ice hockey sticks) at another new friend’s bachelor party (other activities strictly confidential). J. watched the yearly play production for charity: Tachycardia, and followed friends to the Tachycardia afterparty. He was one of four/five non-final-year people to drop in on a their class barbeque held by a popular gastroenterologist tutor. One of them was a Neurology elective student from Calgary whom he met at the hospital.

And thanks to one of the new friends, J. is now a member of, and president of the Singapore chapter of the Sports Medicine Interest Group (SMIG). Ahem.

It’s pretty fun stuff. If you’re going on an elective, do more things outside of the hospital! Cheers.

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