Jennifer Donegan – Podiatry – level 4
I had such an amazing time getting to explore all the fantastic sites in Athens, Greece with the Queen Margaret University Podiatry department. Having the opportunity to visit the Metropolitan College of Athens and represent the podiatry profession here in Edinburgh was a perfect way to end my four years of study to achieve my Honours degree. After a very overwhelming final semester, I successfully gained a spot on the trip and could not have been more excited.
Academic/ Placement experience
Day 1 – We got to see the Metropolitan College of Athens and went to the 6th floor which is where the Podiatry department is. The college was very modern and the views from the treatment room were amazing. We got to observe and work with the second year podiatry students. The students I observed were Chritiana and Niya, they were very welcoming and the whole class were friendly and had lots of questions for us. It was great to see how they do things and how they interact with their patients. Our group got along very well with the second years and they invited us for a tour of Athens centre and a drink in a roof top bar with stunning views all around.
Day 2 – We got to visit the college podiatry lead Georges gait lab. Our group observed the assessment of a 16 year old male with cerebral palsy. The assessment covered neurological and motor strength and weakness testing then covered gait analysis of all three planes of motion using a Vicon camera system. As a new grad and after completing the Podo mechanics module this year, gait analysis is something we looked at very closely. Getting to see the analysis being done in person was really enjoyable and I found it easier to understand and interpret the results better. Although it was a long day it was thoroughly enjoyable and I think it will be a great help to the fourth years next year for pod mechanics.
Day 3 – We were back at the college and got to observe the first year students in the morning then had a seminar on foot orthosis in the afternoon. The first year students unfortunately had some cancelled appointments so we took this time to work on each other and help the students with arterial and venous assessments as well as discussing routine appointments and nail care. For the afternoon seminar the first and second year Greek students also joined us. The seminar was interesting but also highlighted how different orthosis companies are in Greece compared to the UK. After the seminar we planned to meet the lecturers and second year students for drinks that evening.
Social and Tourist experience
- During the fun of touring the city centre with the Greek students, we seen the changing of the guard at the Parliament Building and visited university square which had stunning architecture. In the evening we enjoyed a lovely group meal in Syntagma square followed by some drinks in a gorgeous roof top bar called A for Athens. We were treated to more stunning views of the Acropolis as it was lit up beautifully.
- After our morning of observing an assessment in the gait lab, it was time to be proper tourists. The weather was fantastic so a group of us decided to walk to the list of tourist attractions we had planned out. First stop was the Panathenaic Stadium then onto the Temple of Olympian Zeus via the National Park. The temple was great and it was free entry for each of us as we had our student cards. We continued our tour and walked to Hadrian’s Arch then carried on up to the Acropolis. There were stunning views in every direction from the Acropolis and seeing each temple was amazing. That evening we enjoyed another lovely meal as a group and went on to find some more roof top bars with great views.
- The afternoon seminar on day 3 lasted longer than expected and we planned to meet up with the second year Greek students and lecturers for dinner and drinks to celebrate such a great trip. It was a really fun night and it was great having everyone there as our group got on very well with the second year class.
- On the final day some of us decided to go up Athens version of Arthur’s seat, Mount Lycabettus. It is a limestone hill and I had planned on visiting it as soon as I seen it on Day 1 of the trip. The walk up was fairly steep but easy going and there was a lovely chapel and café at the top. From there we went back to Syntagma square to do some last bits of shopping before we were due to leave for the flight back home.
All in all, this was such a fantastic trip and it was great getting to know the second and third year students a bit better too. I am extremely grateful I was chosen to represent our course and the university. Thank you for the opportunity, I loved every minute and will cherish the experience.