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Medical students ready for Russia

The University of Bergen has established a medical student exchange cooperation with the North-western State Medical University in St. Petersburg.

Utvekslingsstudenter på medisinstudiet
INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Medical Students Lars Haga Bringeland, Cornelius Bach Solheim and Håkon Vegrim have got an unique opportunity. They are going to cooperate with neurology students and researchers in St. Petersburg, as exchange students.
Photo:
Elin Espe Stensvand

The Department of Clinical Medicine and the neurological research community at the University of Bergen (UiB) have received funding from the Norwegian centre for international cooperation in education (SIU). The aim is to establish regular student exchange with North-western State Medical University named after I.I.Mechnikov in St. Petersburg.

As part of this cooperation the fourth year students Lars Haga Bringeland, Cornelius Bach-Solheim and Håkon Vegrim are going to spend time in St. Petersburg in March 2016. At the same time, two students and two PhD candidates from St. Petersburg will visit UiB.

A different experience

“To get a chance to travel abroad as part our study is a unique opportunity,” says Bach-Solheim.

The three medical students are specializing in neurology, and are thus looking forward to get a closer look at how neurology is practiced in Russia compared to in Bergen. They reveal that the opportunity to gain experience of the cultural capital of St. Petersburg also is very tempting.

“When I did my military service, I was a guard on Norway’s border with Russia. I got some knowledge of Russia then, but this is something completely different,” says Vegrim.

“This is also completely different from being a tourist in a country such as Russia. Now we get a chance to get to know people and experience the culture, as well as looking into the conditions at a Russian hospital,” says Bringeland.

An international profession

In autumn 2016, the head of the Department of Clinical Medicine, Nils Erik Gilhus, and the department’s head of administration, Jorunn Skei, visited St. Petersburg to discuss this cooperation in education, with instantly visible results. They are extremely satisfied that the cooperation with the Russian university now is becoming a reality.

“Medicine is an international profession, and as medics we have great opportunities to cooperate with students and researchers in the rest of the world. It is interesting to compare our results in research and education with other countries,” says Gilhus.

Building bridges eastwards

Nils Erik Gilhus believes that it will be very instructive, both administratively and academically, to get a close encounter with another culture.

“Of course, one of the main points of the exchange cooperation is that we ourselves get better at what we do. We become more aware when we have visitors, and when we travel to visit others. Politically I also believe that such an exchange programme is a great way to build bridges between Norway and Russia,” says Gilhus.