Our student of Veterinary Medicine María Olmos was offered the opportunity of doing an internship under an Erasmus scholarship. A “unique and unrepeatable” experience that seems to have changed her on a professional and a personal level, this is what she has to say!
Where did you go for your Erasmus experience?
I came to Rome, Italy. I am doing an internship in a veterinary hospital.
Do you live in a flat or a residence?
I live in a house that is located behind the Vatican. I am living together with students and working people (architects, lawyers, nurses and others) from Finland, Albania, Spain, Venezuela and Italy. We are twelve people in the building, counting the three-year old child of the owner.
Did you find it hard to study in another language?
I am not a student; I am doing an internship. Therefore, I learn Italian with more ease than a student would. That is positive, as I was unable to do an introductory course to the Italian language.
How was your day-to-day life after arriving in Rome? Which differences did you notice with life in Spain and at CEU Cardenal Herrera University?
I worked eight to ten hours a day in the veterinary hospital. Five days a week I collaborated on consultations, surgeries, hospitalization and in the rehabilitation center. On free days we would travel to Florence, Pisa or other cities, or go for excursions by bicycle around Rome. On Sundays we would hold barbecues on the roof of our student residence, where we had a view on San Pietro and the Vatican.
In Spain I lived with my parents close to my university. It was a very enriching experience to suddenly live with people from all over the world. We would organize dinners with Italian, Albanian, Polish or Finnish food. Some days we would go to Villa Pamphili to practice yoga. Villa Pamphili is one of the biggest parks in all Italy and is located ten minutes from the house where I live.
I initially chose England as the place of my stay, as I had already done an internship at the University of Cambridge. Due to a last-minute adjustment in the period when my internship was to take place, I was assigned a veterinary hospital in Rome. I was interested in getting to know new, foreign working methods, and so I gladly accepted the new city. However, due to the change in location I did not have the possibility of doing an introductory course in Italian. That is why I consider my oral and written knowledge of the Italian language have both improved a lot.
Did you work there? Which job did you do? Tell us about your professional experience.
I worked as a veterinarian in the Centro Medico Chirurgico Veterinario Gregorio VII, in Rome, in different departments, especially Ophthalmology.
The veterinarians at the hospital from the start allowed me to work with them in all situations. Even surgeries, although communication was sometimes difficult, as vocabulary and accent in Italian can change a lot according to someone’s home town. I thank the personnel of the Veterinary Hospital for their warm welcome, patience – regarding, in particular my lack of any level in Italian – and open attitude and willingness to talk with me and teach me things, and, especially, to do all this in an admirable and good mood, and with a lot of empathy.
Two months after the start of my internship, the hospital informed me they were willing to extend my stay with four more months. That is why I still work in the hospital. I do veterinary consultations, write up reports and perform surgeries. Cohabitation and my job give me a very didactic approach to learning Italian.
I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to take part in the Erasmus program. It allowed me to live a unique and unrepeatable experience. I thank everyone who helped me in obtaining this internship.
My Erasmus experience allowed me to get to know new working methods and another culture and, also, to live an experience that I consider very important for my future, in a personal and a professional sense. I consider myself fortunate to have got to know and to have worked with some of the best veterinarians worldwide, and to have shared my time here with wonderful people.
My internship would initially last three months. However, the hospital informed me they were willing to extend my stay with four more months, and I happily accepted the offer. I have to go to Spain in January to start my Master in Veterinary Ophthalmology in Barcelona. But I seriously consider coming back to Rome to search for a job.
What do you miss about your Erasmus stay?
The duration of my internship was extended, and so I will remain in Rome until December. But I know that I will miss the people that have been with me and with whom I spent time during my stay of six months here. I will miss my work in the hospital and my colleagues.
Tell us an anecdote or interesting testimony from your Erasmus stay!
The start of my stay was difficult. Due to the sudden change in location, I did not have the possibility to do an introductory course to the Italian language. Apart from that, as I notified the Gregorio VII veterinary hospital I would start working with them on short notice, they did not have the time to find a room for me.
I stress that in Rome it is very difficult to find a place to live during the summer months, as this city, as we all know, is one of the principal destinations for tourists worldwide.
This initial obstacle eventually became an advantage, as over the internet I found an attic room in a house located behind the Vatican, and close to the veterinary hospital where I was to work. In this house, I have lived and continue to live together with people from countries around the world, including Russia, Georgia, Poland, Venezuela, Iran, Albania, Finland and Italy. These people made my stay here a unique and unrepeatable experience.