Solutions for cultural understanding: medical students’ perspective

Cultural diversity 2019

Flat lay photography of eight coffee latte in mugs on round table (Unsplash, 2018)

This article was exclusively written for the The European Sting by Ms. Maria Golebiowska, a 6th year medical student in Medical University of Lublin, Poland. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In Medical University of Lublin, hundreds of foreign medical students start their undergraduate path in Poland. I can only imagine the anxiety and fear from unknown, which may accompany future medical professionals while choosing their studies abroad. Starting a medical diploma in a country so different culturally from home is for sure a huge risk, but every bold decision comes with a huge opportunity – to broaden the horizons and come back, enriched from living in a culturally diverse environment.

This is also a great occasion for Polish society, culturally monolythic, to become more opened and understanding. Especially in medicine, healthcare professionals should be united despite borders in order to acheive the all-important aim – to save human life and protect human health.

That is why, six years ago I decided to introduce IFMSA-Poland, known for amazing volunteering opportunities for Polish students, to English Division foreign students of MUL.

Being firstly Assistant to Local Officer to English Division (LOED), from 2013 I became Vicepresident to English Division in Lublin, and created the team of 20 international coordinators – students from Taiwan, Thailand, USA, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Norway, who in 5 years of our work coordinated over 500 activities for over 5000 people – starting from kindergarteners, through our peers-high school and university students, to adults and elderly representatives of our society.

We took all our passion, motivation, medical knowledge and cultural diversity to Lublin communities. With help of our Polish volunteers, we educated the society on important medical public health topics, such as addictions, cancer, HIV and AIDS, every time including important aspect of our traditions, cultures – sharing similarities and embracing our differences.

Our volunteers contributed their comfort zones, time, effort in sharing their experiences, receiving in return the wonderful perception of the citizens – hospitality, curiosity, gratitude. It was a great experience for me to watch the growth of our peers from volunteers to leaders, educating their colleagues in public health education, practical medical and soft skills.

And Polish society travelled virtually to the most distant places, learnt about most beautiful traditions and words from most difficult, unknown languages from all around the world. Volunteering was addictive to many of us, and became the brightest memory of our medical studies.

I wanted to share our English Division Team’s story because I believe that students should have more influential voice in changing the world, especially in terms of mutual respect and understanding.

Our example shows, that the best way to minimize the cultural shock and increase the cultural understanding is to create a space, a melting-pot for cultures to cooperate together, reach out to each other and support the greatest cause – in our case, to increase medical knowledge awareness and become the best professionals for our future patients.

We hope to encourage more youth representatives to think of their professions and passions in culturally broader perspectives.

About the author

Maria Golebiowska- 6th year medical student in Medical University of Lublin, Poland, currently holds the position of Vice-president to English Division Students in Local Committee in Lublin of IFMSA-Poland. Founder of English Division Team in Local Committee in Lublin (since 2013) and National Surgical Summerschool in Poland (since 2016). Passionate about volunteering and medical education, served as Assistant to Vicepresident for Activities in IFMSA and Ethics and Human Rights in Health Program Coordinator in years 2015/16 and 2016/17.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The 28 EU leaders care more about fiscal orthodoxy than effectively fighting youth unemployment

6 things to know about press freedom around the world

EU investment budget for 2020: A boost for the climate

Cambodia: Giving back to UN peacekeeping

WHO reports ‘very strong progress’ in battling DR Congo Ebola outbreak

The British “nonsense”, the relaxed Commissioner and the TTIP “chiaroscuro” at this week’s Council

China hopes EU Commissioner De Gucht drops super anti-dumping tariff on solar panels

“A sustainable economy, low-carbon, resource-efficient, resilient and more competitive on the global stage”, EU Commissioner Vella in a Sting Exclusive

Will the EU be condemned by the International Criminal Court for violating migrants’ human rights?

UN chief highlights action across borders for ‘stable and prosperous Eurasia’

Our food system is pushing nature to the brink. Here’s what we need to do

We generate 125,000 jumbo jets worth of e-waste every year. Here’s how we can tackle the problem

Why diversity needs your star power, as well as sponsors

Youth Entrepreneurship Issue of the month: JEN, organisers of JADE October Meeting, on why JEs should come together

EU Budget: A Reform Support Programme and an Investment Stabilisation Function to strengthen Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commissioner Mimica looks at how the private sector can better deliver for international development

CEOs say these 4 factors will shape business in 2020

Mental health as a tool of survival at the Pandemic

Aid convoy for north-east Syria postponed over security concerns – UN relief chief

Challenges behind a technological way at health

“Beyond the beach: tackling plastic pollution upstream”, a Sting Exclusive by Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

Who would pay and who is to gain from the EU-US free trade agreement

Leaders making these 5 key investments can shape an inclusive future

AIDEX 2015: Humanitarian Hero Award Winner Announced

Germany loses leading export place

Thursday’s Daily Brief: Safeguarding civilians, strengthening Ebola response in DR Congo, marking Fistula Day, updates on CAR and Syria

A Sting Exclusive: “Climate change and youth inaction: oblivion or nonchalance?”, AIESEC wonders from Brussels

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

‘Stand united against anti-Muslim hatred’ urges Guterres, after mosque shootings in New Zealand leave 49 dead

The Europeans with a job diminish dangerously

Is history a new NATO weapons against Russia?

We can’t tell if we’re closing the digital divide without more data

Posting of workers: final vote on equal pay and working conditions

How can education empower youth to become tomorrow’s leaders

New migration pact highlights key role of business in protecting migrants, say UN experts

‘Maintain calm’ and ‘exercise patience’ UN envoy urges, as Nigeria heads to polls

European Commission secures EU access to Remdesivir for treatment of COVID-19

This NATO experiment used fake Facebook accounts to trick soldiers into sharing sensitive information

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

6th Edition of India m2m + iot Forum to open its door on 14th January, in association with The European Sting

Only one in five countries has a healthcare strategy to deal with climate change

Embrace ‘people-centered multilateralism,’ UN-civil society forum urges

5 charts that bust some myths about migration

EU Parliament raises burning issues over the FTA with the US

Military operation in northeast Syria could see unintentional release of ISIL affiliates: UN chief

Some 300,000 Venezuelan children in Colombia need humanitarian assistance; UNICEF looks to boost response funding

How the post-COVID workplace will change business for the better

India’s economy is an ‘elephant that is starting to run’, according to the IMF

Does the world have strong enough institutions to handle risks like Trump and Brexit?

Easing funding woes for UN agency assisting Palestine refugees a ‘wise investment for today and the future’

What Mary Poppins teaches us about behavioural economics

On the detention of children in the United States of America

FROM THE FIELD: Enduring freezing winter in a war zone

It’s ‘time to #EndTB’, says UN on World Tuberculosis Day

The financial world upside-down: debt failure closer

Medical Devices Regulation: Commission welcomes Council support to prioritise the fight against coronavirus

An economist explains what happens if there’s another financial crisis

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Climate change could be making forests shorter – this is how

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s