I’ts been over seven weeks since I came to Paris and the exchange has exceeded my expectations. The city is beautiful: full of history and breathtaking architechtury on the old buildings and the first internship was the best ever. I’ve visited many of the touristy places and of those the Sacre-Cour church at the Montmarte hill has been my favourite.
On my spare time I’m usually at the gym or eating pastries and, oh boy, the French don’t praise their pastries and bread for nothing. I can’t say which of the delicacies are my favorites because there are so many. But if I must choose the ones I have eaten the most, I would say croissant, baguette and this little cream puff like pastry with sugar crystals on top of it called chouquette.
My first internship was at rheumatology ward in Cochin Hospital. People came there to rehabilitate mostly because of rheumatism, chronic low back pain, scleroderma or knee or hip replacement surgery. They stay in the hospital approximately 5 days and work 5 hours per day with multi-professional team. So they had physiotherapy, occupational therapy, relaxation, hydrotherapy and maybe saw the podiatrist, physical education instructor, psychologist and dietitian and of course the doctor. I was also fortunate to go once or twice a week in the hospitals respiratory ward where people came usually from intensive care unit because to rehabilitate to be able to go home or to a rehabilitation center. In there I saw many interesting and special cases and learned more about rare diagnoses such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and Lupus erythematosus.
At the hospital, working with the individuals and groups without speaking the language
has been hard but very rewarding. My classmate, who came also for an Erasmus exchange, and me have had private french lessons from the teacher from our school in here, which has been really nice. We’ve tried to learn some useful words and phrases which has helped us to work with the patients. Even though I didn’t know any French before coming here, it has been fun to see that when people speak it all the time around you, you start to pick up some words and sentence without even realizing.
Working culture in France doesn’t differ that much from Finnish culture. In my first internship, they were specialised in chronic lowbackpain and the rehabilitation happened in a gym room and there could be 10 patients at the same time working. It is not usual in Finland to have so many patiences working individually in the same space but in Cochin hospital they’ve made it work pretty well. One big difference what I’ve found is that the lunch brake is much more longer here in France. It can be from 30 minutes to 1,5 hours and it is a peaceful gathering where people chat about their lives and really connect. In Finland we could also try to really sit and relax and enjoy our meal with our co-workers. The lunch is usually here at 12:30 or 13:00PM and that’s something that I haven’t got used to, yet. I think it’s a bit too late for me because my tummy starts to rumble already at 10 AM. But when in Paris, do as the Parisians do (except don’t smoke).