Excursions with my program!

I just returned from a week long trip with my core course at DIS Scandinavia – Copenhagen! To break it down for you, there are core courses at DIS which are similar to majors at universities/colleges. Similar concept in that it is focused on a topic, but it’s only for one semester and only one class. So for me, as I am a Biology major back home at Wofford, I wanted to choose a core course that was related to that in some way. There were a couple that piqued my interest but the one I ended up settling on is Medical Practice and Policy: Human Health and Diseases. Another major difference is that core courses have travel weeks, one short and one longer. I’ll share a little about both in this post, specifically about the academic visits we did. Every core course has these short/long study weeks. My course went to Odense, Denmark for the short tour which is in western Denmark. We went to Tallinn, Estonia and Hesinki, Finland for our long study tour.

For the short study tour, we visited the Odense Univerity Hospital for all of our academic visits. We heard from an ENT, Pathologists, and EMS. At the EMS visit, we also heard a research presentation on whether sedation vs. no sedation is better for intubation.

On the long study tour, we had a visit to a General Practitioners office where we heard from a Family Doctor in Estonia. This visit was cool because we also got a tour of the entire doctors office. In Estonia, more specialized physicians are found in hospitals and more generalized physicians can be found in practices like this. So, a gynecologist is in the hospital while a midwife is at the Family Practice. We also learned that 94% of Estonians have health insurance which just means that they pay taxes. These taxes go towards the Estonia Health Insurance Fund and is what funds an procedures or medical needs for the country.

We then visited the TEMS, Tallinn Emergency Medicine Services. This was a similar visit to the Odense visit in that they have similar practices, though different from the US. They have teams with nurses and doctors, and depending on the severity of the call, one will get sent out over the other. One thing I think could definitely be implemented into American cities is EMS on bikes! In the summers, they have EMS on bikes patroling Old Town Estonia since the roads are so narrow.

Lastly, we visited a dentist in Helsinki and an allergist. The dentist visit was in an old mental insitution but was now a space for lots of different small businesses and even a café! We got a run down of the Finnihs healthcare system as well a lottttt of statistics. I wont include them here as to prevent boredom. But long lecture short, while the Fins are voted the happiest country in the world, they have the highest numbers of people on antidepressants. I think the allergist ties nicely into why this is. In an ever evolving world, we have introduced more urban spaces. A lot of people are no longer out and about in nature and that has increased the amount of allergies that have hit our modern world. Finland doesnt see a lot of sun (we were there for 2 of the 4 days of sun theyve had so far this year) and so people are not outside. The disconnect between humans and nature is the main research topic that the allergist is researching and is why I think a lot of Fins are struggling with depression.

These study tours are all work, theres lots of free time and fun activities set up for us! For example, on a ghost tour in Tallinn, we were blessed to be able to see the Northern Lights in the city! How gorgeous! Never would I have thought I would be able to see these but here they are!

I also learned how to curl! It takes way more strength than you would think! I’ll be watching them during the winter Olympics!

We played Glow-in-the-Dark mini golf in Helsinki with our class! So fun! It was set up like a haunted house which none of us expected so it definitely was a jump scare at first! There was even a hole where the floor dropped when you made it in. Terrifying!

I was also able to feed reindeer in Finland! This was an incredible experience! On this trip, we also did the ice plunge and sauna that is really popular in Nordic countries. We went at night so it was difficult to see into the lake. They cut a hole in the ice for us and we dipped in! Such an unique experience!

I love Tallinn and Helsinki! Those excursions were so incredibly fun and I made some amazing friends along the way!