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Pre-med student gains hospital career experience in Italy

news-portrait-bryce-allen-2.webpBryce Allen always dreamed of exploring Italy's cuisine and culture, and this summer, the Morehead State junior had the opportunity to achieve that dream while gaining valuable professional experience.

Allen is from Paintsville and is a biomedical science, pre-medicine major. After researching online, he decided to participate in a job shadowing program through the Doctors in Italy Fellowship. The program combines intensive clinical rotation with in-depth immersion in Italian culture in Rome, Florence, Milan, and others. Allen's fellowship was in Rome and lasted three weeks.

"It was crucial for me to select a program that was not only based in Italy but offered the opportunity to shadow doctors. I landed on my specific program because it provided the perfect balance between acquiring hours and knowledge under doctors while offering ample time and group excursions to soak up the culture and history of Rome," Allen said.

During his fellowship, Allen spent a week shadowing doctors at a private hospital, Bio-Medico Campus University Hospital, and two weeks at a historic public hospital, San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital. During the fellowship, Allen could observe several surgeries and unique patient interactions in cardiology, plastic surgery, ear, nose, and several other specialties. Allen said he learned about 15 specialties while he was in Italy. He was also able to interact with doctors and ask about patient care and the day-to-day stresses and rewards of the profession.

"My program provided a very realistic and varied experience of what a career in medicine looks like. As a pre-med student, getting hours shadowing doctors is something medical schools stress to undergraduate students as a top priority," Allen said. "My participation in the program allowed me to walk away feeling confident that I have made the right decision in pursuing a career in medicine."

Allen said he found the idea of navigating Rome a bit daunting but said the fellowship coordinators helped him feel at home during his travels.

"When entering a new country and especially coming from a rural background, it was nerve-wracking to think about navigating such a large city and public transport systems with which I have no prior experience. However, the program coordinators were beyond accommodating," Allen said. "Having a local at your fingertips to guide you through the Italian lifestyle was convenient and allowed us to gain insight into things we wouldn't have learned without them. They truly made the trip special and ensured our comfort and safety throughout the duration of the program."

The fellowship allowed him to fully immerse himself in Italian culture, art, and cuisine. Planned excursions allowed him to see Rome's architectural, artistic, and cultural sites, and dinners with the program coordinators let him learn about authentic Italian culture.

"I feel I learned so much about life itself from the Italian people and lifestyle," Allen said. "Watching locals live their lives over a three-week period inspired me to slow down, take a deep breath, and attempt to soak up every second I'm fortunate enough to have."

For more information about MSU's biomedical sciences programs, email or call 606-783-2945.

To learn more about Education Abroad opportunities, email Program Coordinator Aaron Hirsch at or call 606-783-2044.