Rachel McLaren – Podiatry – Level 3

Athens, Greece

Right from the second I found out about the trip I knew I wanted to get involved (4 days in a hot country? I’m in!) and the time from being chosen to be part of the trip to the day we left for Athens seemed to go in so quickly. Before we jetted off, we were given a timetable for our days while we were there. This mostly included spending time with the podiatry students and lecturers during the day and scheduled free time in the evenings. We were also informed that podiatry was still a fairly new profession in Greece, and the university we were visiting had only been running the course for 2 years. For me, this was even more intriguing, not only to see podiatry in a new country, but to see it as a new profession. During the trip we met both first and second year podiatry students and got to experience their routine clinic which included both general podiatry (nail care, callus reduction etc) and biomechanics. The clinic itself was lovely, it is very new and modern and was lovely to see. The plinths were outward facing, separated by dividers, meaning that patients would be able to look out of the windows while being treated, I thought this was a very clever set up!

As a 3rd year within QMU, I thought that myself and others would probably have more knowledge than the Greek students, but actually seeing them practicing was so interesting. From the way they took patient’s medical history, to the way they held a scalpel, almost everything about the way they work was different to the way we do. By no means do I mean that this is a bad thing, I thought it was very beneficial for us to see this as it showed that things do not only have to be done ‘our way’ to be a success.

Within our trip we also visited a gait lab where the head lecturer at the university works when he is not lecturing. We were fortunate to see the lab in action, with a full run down of how the equipment works and what the findings of the gait analysis will be used for. The lab itself was very interesting and it was clear to see that biomechanics was also playing a huge part within podiatry in Greece.

Lunch every day was scheduled at around 2pm, after this there was no other university business scheduled so we were free to do as we pleased. For me, this involved some sightseeing, relaxing by the pool at our hotel and shopping. Every evening, the QMU students and staff met as a group to go out for dinner together. It was lovely that although we were here to see the Greek university, we had time to ourselves to have some fun. It was especially nice to meet up at night to reflect on the day and hear what each other had got up to in the free time.

Athens was a beautiful city, and probably one I would never have experienced podiatry within had it not been for this trip. I think that seeing podiatry in another country was very valuable for both my studies and my future career, and I cannot thank both QMU and Santander enough for giving us this wonderful opportunity!

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