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Incoming students experiences

Summer 2019

Hi my name is Brent Van Herk, and I'm a medical student from the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam.

The first day at Hospital del Mar (17th of July 2019) I met dr. Rodriguez (neurosurgeon) who accompanied me during my two weeks at the Hospital del Mar.

During my stay he showed me many qualities a surgeon (or doctor in general) should have. He cares about his patients, he shows confidence and on top of that he is really good at his job. Every person I met in Barcelona was friendly and I was greeted with ‘Buenos dias’ every morning when walking into the theatre. I really felt welcome at the Hospital del Mar and that helped me feel comfortable from the moment I stepped in the hospital.

Personally, this is an experience I will not forget. I learned many things in these two weeks (for example about new, rare – and very interesting – diseases, reviewing images, etc.) that I could not have learned from books or any other way.


I would like to finish by thanking some people for making this experience possible. Especially, the board of VCMS and Gimbernat Surgical Society, Professor Manuel Pera for making this exchange possible and of course dr. Rodriguez for making the effort to educate me throughout the two weeks. Thank you!

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Hi! My name is Daan and I’m a medical student from the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. The last summer I visited the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona for a two-week clerkship under the supervision of Professor Manuel Pera.

My clerkship was at the general surgery department with the upper gastro-intestinal surgeons. It was very interesting for me to see so many different cases and operations. I learned a lot from Professor Pera who is engaged with his students and translated every case from Spanish to English for us. The staff at the hospital were very helpful and answered all our questions about cases and operations. We also visited Professor Pera’s laboratory in the Instituto Hospital del Mar de Investigaciones Médicas (IMIM). This is where he is doing research into the pathophysiology mechanism which leads to the development of esophageal cancer from a Barrett’s esophagus, it was very interesting to see. I want to thank the staff for having me for these amazing two weeks and I would really like to go back one time! Muchas Gracias!

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My name is Julia Slagter and I am a medical student at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This summer, I was able to spend two weeks at the department of vascular surgery at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona.


My experience was beyond anything I could have expected. The team in Barcelona made me feel very welcome from the moment I arrived. The team was a lot smaller and younger than here in the Netherlands, which was great to experience and compare.


I spent most of my days both in the OR and at the endovascular unit. I was able to scrub in for most surgeries in the OR and assist. The surgeons and residents took the time to explain the procedures and the anatomy to me.


Furthermore, they encouraged me to practice my basic surgical skills and taught me some new ones, for example different kinds of sutures. After a day in the hospital, my fellow students from Holland and I were free to spend our evenings and weekends in the amazing city of Barcelona!


I had a great time at the Hospital del Mar and would especially like to thank everyone from the vascular surgery department and of course Professor Manuel Pera, Núria Casanova and the Gimbernat Surgical Society! Muchas Gracias!


Hi! My name is Twan and I’m a medical student from the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. The last summer I visited the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona for a two-week clerkship under the supervision of Professor Manuel Pera.

The internship in Barcelona was just as much a relaxing holiday, as it was fun. My days started at 8 am with the general surgery morning sign-out. Afterwards, I would spend the rest of the day with a colorectal surgeon with whom I could attend the consultations, hemicolectomies (both open surgery and laparoscopy) and even a couple of HIPECs. 

Furthermore, what made this internship particularly special was the way of communicating through the occasional language barrier. By which I mean the way I had to work creatively so that they could understand me. Google translate was one of my great friends!


All in all, this was an experience to remember and I am definitely planning to do something like this again.


Summer 2017

 My name is Ali Ansaripour and I am final year medical student from King’s College London. I was fortunate to secure a 2-week placement with the Neurosurgical Team at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona under supervision of Drs Jesús Lafuente and David Rodríguez. A career in Neurosurgery is a considered and deliberate future, which I wish to pursue and this was an incredible opportunity, which further inspired me towards this decision. 

The team at Hospital del Mar is perhaps one of the friendliest and most welcoming teams I have encountered during my medical career so far. Since day one I was adopted as an integral member of the neurosurgical team and I was involved in all stages of patient´s care from decision making on the ward rounds to assisting in theatre under supervision and even to out of hour care of post-operative patients. This placement allowed me to observe a great breadth of procedures, which was incredibly valuable and a real privilege. My supervisors also would dissect each case that I had followed on daily basis to ensure that I understood it in fully. David in particular, made sure that I had seen every MRI and CT scan of all patients on the service and taught me how to interpret them which is a skill I will remember for the rest of my career.

The benefits of starting the day early is that you also get to finish early (well on most days) which means you can get to experience the beautiful city of Barcelona. All in all, this experience has opened my eyes to new opportunities and I am now considering undertaking my medical elective in a Spanish speaking country and would even like to practice Medicine here in Spain.

“He’s the man.” - Hanging out in the theatres following an endoscopic trans-sphenoidal surgery to remove a pituitary tumour which restored the patients’ vision.

From left to right, Juan, the neurosurgery senior registrar, me in the middle, and Jesus Lafuente, one of the senior neurosurgeons and also the President of European Association of Neurosurgical Societies (EANS).


Hi! My name is Talib Dar, a fourth year medical student from King’s College London. This summer, I was extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to spend a few weeks attached to the Vascular Surgery team at Hospital del Mar, through a clerkship organised between the King’s and Gimbernat surgical societies.

During my stay, I had the chance to attend surgical meetings and ward rounds in the morning, followed by spending the rest of day with the team either in theatre or in the endovascular unit. I was able to scrub in and assist with almost all procedures, and over the course of my stay was able to learn and gain confidence in performing many basic surgical skills, live in theatre. I saw a very wide range of surgical cases, from common pathologies to more complex and rare procedures. In addition to the open surgery, I got to spend some time in the endovascular theatre as well.

In addition to gaining a lot of hands-on experience in surgery, I was able to compare the differences between surgery in the UK and here in Spain. It was really great to see the camaraderie between all members of a team in theatre, from scrub nurses and juniors to consultants. Another interesting thing to learn was the differences in training, with shorter training here in Spain resulting in a much younger surgical team than I’ve seen in the UK. Getting to see medicine in a different culture and language was an amazing experience which I’d recommend to any student.

Of course, the other great thing about this placement was getting to spend it in Barcelona, a beautiful city. The city itself has amazing sights and architecture, in addition to also having pretty beaches and perfect weather. The fact that the hospital was literally on the beach sums up Barcelona as a city, and I’m already desperate to go back!"


Hi everyone! My name Lana de Hoon and I'm a medical student at the Erasmus university in Rotterdam (Holland). I'm a member of the Dutch equivalent of Gimbernat surgical association. Thanks to these associations I've had the chance to go on a clerkship in Hospital del Mar in Barcelona. I'm really grateful for this opportunity.

It was an internship of two weeks, of which I was one week on colorectal surgery and one week on upper  gastro-intestinal surgery. I’ve attended ward rounds, outpatient clinics, endoscopy sessions and the operating room. I was allowed to scrub multiple times and I even got the chance to assist.

I really enjoyed my time in Barcelona and I’m very grateful for the doctors who’ve taken the time and effort to translate, explain and show me everything. I encourage everybody to do a clerkship abroad and enjoy this experience.


Hi! My name is Nathan Marhold, a medical student at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, and member of VCMS (dutch student surgical association).

I was lucky to have the opportunity to go on a two week summer clerkship at Hospital del Mar this year. The internship was a collaboration between Gimbernat Surgical Association and VCMS. As a student with a deep interest in surgery I can safely say that my stay in Barcelona was definitely the highlight of my summer.

I spent one week at the Upper GI surgery department, and one week in the Colorectal surgery department, under the supervision of Dr. Manuel Pera and Dr. Miguel Pera respectively. The staff was very welcoming and organized, helping me to quickly integrate into the daily routine. During my stay I have seen various, often complex, procedures both open and laparoscopic. The staff took care in explaining the procedures and techniques. They were doctors with a lot of passion for their profession and were willing to share their knowledge. I found it very inspiring. 

Aside from seeing the patients in the OR, I had the chance to follow them and see them recover when we made our daily ward rounds. I could see the full scope of what it meant being a surgeon that treats a patient from hospitalization till discharge. 

The cherry on top of this experience was that at the end of the day or in the weekend I got to explore Barcelona. Need i say more?

Overall it was a wonderful experience. I have learned a tremendous amount at Hospital del Mar. I would like to thank the staff and Gimbernat Surgical Association for giving me this amazing opportunity. 

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