Rui Nozaki - 2014 Program Participant

A group of Atlantis Project Interns at their farewell dinner in the Canary Islands.

Farewell Dinner with all Tenerife, Canary Island fellows from Session 2.

Why did you choose to intern abroad instead of in the States?

I chose to intern abroad because I love to travel and wanted to experience a different environment and culture. As the program mission statement says, I thought it would be interesting to see how medicine might be practiced differently on a European island.

Why did you choose the Canary Islands for your internship?

I chose the Canary Islands because I have studied Spanish for a few years and wanted to further improve it.

Pediatrics Medical Intern in the Canary Islands with local doctors and fellows.

Last day in pediatrics. Rui with doctor and AP fellows. (Left to right: Dr. Ramón, Sarah Ridge, Rachel Kim, Rui Nozaki).

What made you choose the Atlantis Project over other internship opportunities?

I chose Atlantis Project because of everything it offered. In addition to shadowing in five specialties at the hospital (about 25 hours for each), those of us who chose to participate in the Base5 program were able to make strong connections with the doctors we taught English to while we learned more about the island, Spain, and other parts of Europe through their stories. We were also given the opportunity to take Spanish classes, which were very useful when we ventured out to explore, and attend a bioethics seminar every week. Having the AP sponsored events to explore the various towns and take in breathtaking views was also a major plus.

What was your living situation like?

We lived in single rooms of a university dormitory. Sheets and towels were provided for us, and the housekeeper did our laundry every week. While the university was still in session, we could get breakfast on the ground floor, and the dining hall was open for dinner as well.  There were study rooms and conference rooms, as well as a ping pong table and a pool table.  There were also open common areas where we hung out, and the people working at the reception desk were always very friendly. I became close to one of the workers, and we taught each other English and Spanish during his late night shifts.

International interns at a dinner in the Canary Islands.

Rui at dinner with a friend from internal medicine. Photo with AP fellows and a medical student from Germany. (Left to right: Rui Nozaki, Sarah Ridge, Daniel Barowski)

What was the most memorable experience during your internship at the hospital?

One day, when I was shadowing at internal medicine, the doctor made an interesting observation in one of his patients. After his rounds, he went to his computer to see if other people might have made the same observation and if the correlation was true. As he was explaining what he was searching for and what sites are very helpful, I realized that being a doctor is a life of learning. As someone who loves to learn new things, this was very appealing, and my desire to become a doctor was strengthened. As I have told many people there, "If I ever had doubts about wanting to become a doctor, it is all gone."

What are some reasons you’d return to the Canary Islands?

I would love to go back to see everyone I met during the trip. I also don't want to lose the Spanish I gained during my five weeks there, and want to see if I can understand more at the hospital.

Would you recommend the Atlantis Project internship to others?

Definitely. You can get so much shadowing experience and often, especially if you are shadowing surgery, you can see things that you normally would not be able to see in the U.S.  Experiencing and learning to understand other cultures and perspectives will also be useful in anything you decide to do in the future as well. Through the Atlantis Project, you will also be able to explore so much of the island (locations, festivals, food)  that might be missed if you vacation on your own.