In an unexpected but fortuitous turn of events, the American student originally asked to speak left for Hong Kong and I was invited in her stead. The task: to speak with medical students from Zhongshan Medical School about (1) the healthcare education system in the U.S. and (2) how to do good research. As an undergraduate with only a year’s research experience, I wasn’t the ideal candidate to speak on either of these positions, but the ten or so students I met were very gracious, very eager, and made me feel very welcome. During the hour or two that I “spoke”, it was more of a mutual learning across cultures, as I gave them the basics about the steps to become a doctor in the U.S., and they told me about China’s healthcare system.
Perhaps more importantly, this experience introduced me to some fantastic students near by own age (ok only a few years older than me) with similar interests, who I can both learn from and share my experiences with, during the course of this summer and hopefully beyond.