Lessons Learned from Medical Internship in Finland

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Having the best time talking about Finnish health system with an anesthesiologist, cardiologist, and nurse.

In this article, we will read what Mitha has learned through her internship in Finland. Having done her internship at an university hospital, she interacted with many local and international friends from whom she learned many life perspectives.


 Two years ago, during the summer, I had an opportunity to be an intern at Kuopio University Hospital. I learned lots of valuable lessons, especially in feminism, independence, and its education system. As we know, Finland is one of the countries with the best quality of education system in the world.

During my internship, I learned Finland’s language (Finnish). It was like an introduction to Finnish culture and language. Well, the grammar and pronunciation resemble Bahasa Indonesia. But still, it needed lots of practice and repetition to be fluent in speaking and writing.

I had an intensive Finnish course for one month, and I met lots of global students who had zero comprehension about it.

Our last day in intensive Finnish course.
Our last day in intensive Finnish course.

I was quite impressed with them. They were much older than me, but their curiosity to know and understand the Finnish language is significant. Most of them were taking Ph.D. in Finland.

What I like about the learning system in Finland is their balance approach between theory and practice. I consider both of them as equally important.

We didn’t just sit and learn the language for 6 hours every day, but we discussed the things that we were passionate about or relevant to us most of the time. That was one of the reasons why the lecture didn’t bore me.

The teacher was never getting angry nor punished, humiliated, or embarrassed us in front of others for making mistakes since making mistakes is a part of learning. Without making mistakes, we make no progress. Hierarchy is not evident, so we could discuss with the teacher openly. If we are struggling with some subjects, they are very supportive in helping us.

During my internship, I met with lots of strong, hardworking, and independent women. All of them were financially stable and their spouse earned well.

It was part of the culture that it was normal to see a promising career, financially stable, and time for family. When I went to the shopping center, it was normal to see men taking care of their children alone without their wife. I was very impressed. Women tend to be secure with themselves.

In Asia, appearance matters the most. For example, there was a time when I was working in Indonesia, and I had to prove myself over and over again. It was just because I was a young female with no privileged background. It was challenging for me to achieve my goals.

There were so much pressure and demands from society on Asian women, e.g., we have to be smart and financially stable without being ambitious because we will become dislikeable. Being likable in our culture is more important than intelligence. It is hard to be who you are and comfortable with yourself if you are frequently told to dress and look in a certain way.

In Finland, I learned the freedom to be who you are, no matter what you do. I met with lots of professors who wore jeans and t-shirts to the hospital. You don’t have to show who you are by your clothes. I enjoy that kind of freedom. I was even surprised that most of the surgery departments were led by women.

Internship in hospital.
Internship in the hospital in Finland.

Before I went to Finland, I read lots of books about Finland from their culture, food, and tourist places, making it attractive as most of them were introverts.

Don’t be wrong, they are very polite, but they are not used to with the foreigners, and they tend to be shy.

From my experience, they did not like small talks, and they knew the boundaries. If you are not close to them, you can’t talk about personal things because it is their privacy. But, if you are close to them and become friends, they will be your best friend.

They are very genuine, and they will be there when you need help. You would have some lunch or dinner with them 2-3 times per week. I had some dinner with them.

They liked to talk about meaningful subjects like history and social issues. They liked discussions, and they were well-read. They wanted to learn from other viewpoints. It was exciting to talk with them. There was always something to be discovered. They didn’t talk about other people or some discussions.

Talking about money, they are very wise with the money. They are good at investing money to have some savings in the future. During my time there, I rarely saw them with the newest car or things, and they were straightforward.

They do not want to bother their children when they are getting older. For them, parents should be financially stable until they died and are not allowed to worry their children. After all, they feel that it is their responsibility.

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