We are currently spending 4 months on an ERASMUS placement in Lyon as part of our final year of medicine at Manchester University. We are going to write a few words about our experiences traversing onto the continent and see how medicine compares in France as opposed to the UK.
We thought we would start by introducing ourselves and give a little background to our adventure!
Freya: I wanted to learn French from a very early age because I had some French family but had not grown up speaking French. I spent many a summer holiday trying to interact with other children in French- on the beach, on the ferry, in the supermarket- often with little success!
At secondary school I took up French as soon as I could and when it came to choosing universities, I looked for the opportunity to continue my French studies. We are quite a large group of students studying French at Manchester. Our lessons comprised of 2 hours a week for 4years- timetabled in years 1 and 2 and then in the evenings once we started clinical placements. The lessons ranged from colloquial phrases, to grammar to medical terms. The lessons were a good way to keep up the French we had learnt before and very helpful training looking into working in France/ French speaking countries in the future.
There are about 20 of us currently doing an ERASMUS semester in France, with others in Switzerland, Germany and Spain.
I chose Lyon for its reputation as an exciting, fun and beautiful city. I was also enticed by the many university activities available that are free to ERASMUS students. It is also well placed to explore France and Switzerland in my time off!
As the main focus in final year is clinical practice, my time in Lyon is set up as 3 placements of 5-6weeks. These placements will be spread across the different hospitals in Lyon. I am starting on ‘néonatalogie et réanimation néonatale’, before moving on to ‘urgences chirurgicales’ and ‘urgences médicales’. During my time in Lyon, I am hoping to improve my French, explore Lyon and the surrounding areas and make some new friends in a different city. Hopefully, all that will be relatively entertaining !
Benedicte (Benny) : Hi, my name is Benny and I am also doing 4 months in Lyon for my Erasmus placement. I have always been interested in learning languages and I chose to go to the University of Manchester for medicine as it offered the option of combining medical studies with Spanish, French, or German. I chose French and have never looked back! After years of evening classes of medical and general French lessons, language exams, excitement, and endless forms to fill in, we are finally in France on placement!
I chose to come to Lyon as it is a smaller city than Paris, full of students, and because I had heard the food was great. And I was not wrong! It is a beautiful, bustling city with two gorgeous rivers, endless great restaurants and lots going on.
My placements in Lyon are across two hospitals – Édouard Heriot and La Croix-Rousse. I am on my first placement now on médicine interne which in France is very different from what I thought it would be – it is definitely not “general” medicine! Instead, it is a highly specialised field in the intersection between autoimmune, rheumatological, and haematological diseases. It has been very interesting but quite difficult at the start – both with doing placements in French and clerking and presenting patients with illnesses I had barely heard of. My next placements are urgences (A&E) and anesthésie-réanimation (anaesthetics) which I hope will be as exciting as it sounds!
We will keep writing about our experiences here as we find our feet a little…
À bientôt !