Outgoing Stories: Norway, Neurology, and Memories Within

Hi! My name is Avilia Alexandra and I am a medical student of Pelita Harapan University. I am writing to share the highlight of experiences I had during my SCOPE Exchange Program in a city located in southwestern Norway called Bergen.

The trip to the Bergen was quite interesting. I had several technical issues regarding my accommodation (including missing my second connecting flight in Amsterdam and lost my baggage), but that was how I realized that this trip was getting real. I had no one to rely on but myself. I spent the first two nights sight-seeing the city, learnt some necessary survival skills, and getting along with the warm composure of the people. I learned how to adapt well.

When I got to the hospital, I was so sure that Norway has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Their effective and efficient universal health coverage certainly brings welfare to the people. They have advanced technologies and over-the-top professionalism ethics. The university hospital is called Haukelandsbakken universitetssykehus – in which I am placed in the Neurology department, under the supervision of Petter S. Sanaker, MD, PhD; Jana Midelfart Hoff, MD, PhD, and Christian Helland, MD, PhD, Consultant in Neurosurgery. The doctors and nurses are very inspiring. I did clinical rotations in the neurophysiology unit, outpatient department, neurological physical rehabilitation unit, neurological emergencies, and acute neurological ward. It was amazing. I had my first exposure to so many cases, such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, and many others. I was taught to do proper reflex examinations. Not only that, but a resident on-call was so nice to me. She let me joined her in a night shift, and it was life-changing. I got to experience how healthcare workers are working their best to treat and manage neurological emergency cases, such as seizures and stroke attacks, as fast as they can… at 3 in the morning. Also, I went to the operation theatre for the first time! I got to observe several neurosurgery cases, such as extraforaminal lumbar prolapse, high-grade frontal lobe glioblastoma resection, and ventricle-peritoneal shunt on normo-hydrocephalus. Hospital days were the best.

The social aspects of the trip were so exciting! Everyone was friendly and interesting! It only took a very short time for us to get along with each other. I learned a lot about so many differences in cultures and perspectives. Our Exchange Officers, Hanne-Marie and Kaya, planned various social programs for us. We hiked 3 out of 7 mountains that surround Bergen: Fløyen, Ulriken, and Løvstakken! Furthermore, we went bar crawling and went to a place called Silent Disco twice, as it was so fun to go to. We had an International Dinner, where I cooked Ayam sambal kecap, Nasi goreng, and of course, Indomie. On the last days of the program, we gave each other postcards and traditional gifts from all around the world; stuffs to remember us by.

Lastly, it was a very unforgettable summer filled with countless memories. I would really thank SCOPE CIMSA UPH for this life-changing opportunity! I feel very lucky and privileged to be able to broaden my horizons, along to enrich my interpersonal and intrapersonal skills for a month outside my country. When they say life starts at the end of your comfort zone, I must say I agree. I really did have the time of my life. I can’t wait to share more Bergen stories to people back home.