WASHINGTON, PA (Dec. 15, 2016) – Peter Sobraske’s first international travel experience was a cautionary tale for the books. After a broken luggage lock, navigating foreign airports, late boarding calls, and somehow being registered as a five-year-old in the airline’s system, the Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) junior reached his destination in Alcúdia on the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain, and quickly forgot the woes of international travel.
Upon arriving at the Hotel Fonda Llabres, Peter was met with overwhelming hospitality. He spent the next three weeks there while completing a medical fellowship at the Hospital Comarcal D’Inca for his Magellan Project.
During the first week of his fellowship, Peter shadowed Dr. Vega Reyes, an anesthesiologist, and observed an ACL repair surgery, hip fracture repairs, leg fracture repairs, colonoscopies, laryngoscopies, colon tumor removals, and an epidural injection.
“I learned more in that week alone than I had in weeks of shadowing in the United States due to Dr. Reyes’ outgoing personality and willingness to teach,” Peter said.
The following weeks were spent with a dermatologist and radiologists, and were equally gratifying learning experiences that taught Peter about medical practice, procedures, and technology. He also learned that he enjoyed spending time in a hospital, an important realization for a future physician.
In the afternoons, Peter and other students volunteered in the hospital by teaching English to hospital staff and providing patients who spoke little or no Spanish comfort and assistance with communication during hospital procedures. Being able to see and understand both the procedural and personal side of medical care showed Peter the true value of what he was there to do.
“Volunteering in Hospital Comarcal D’Inca reminded me about the ‘why’ behind striving towards a career in healthcare,” he said.
As part of his Magellan, Peter also conducted an independent comparative study of worldwide healthcare systems. Combining both quantitative and qualitative analyses, Peter evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of each healthcare model and devised practical opportunities for improvement to healthcare in the U.S., where he said many problems can be attributed to the way health care is funded and delivered.
Peter’s Magellan provided him unparalleled experience in terms of what he was able to learn and gain through his fellowship.
“Living in a foreign country was surprisingly beneficial to both my personal growth and development as a global citizen. My exposure to new perspectives, cultures, and languages was an incredibly memorable and profound experience,” he said. “Witnessing and experiencing healthcare from the inside reinforced my desire to become a physician.”
About the Magellan Project
Established in 2008, Washington & Jefferson College’s unique Magellan Project extends liberal arts learning outside the classroom by providing scholarship funding for students to spend the summer pursuing independent projects and internships in the United States and abroad. Learn more about the Magellan Project on the W&J website.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.
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