Although she’d long considered a career in medicine, spending a semester in Scandinavia on a medical practice program truly solidified one Macalester student’s plans. When biology major Stephanie Vilendrer ’13 (Eden Prairie, Minn.) returned home from a semester in Denmark, Sweden, and Estonia, she became a woman on a [medical] mission.
She has now applied to 11 medical schools, continues her strong involvement with the Health Professions Student Community campus group, and has rewritten her own health curriculum—as well as presented it in classrooms and at a Twin Cities law firm. All this came about because of the new energy she had around medicine after a term abroad.
Study in Denmark
For her study abroad experience, Vilendrer chose the well-respected Danish Institute for Study Abroad’s Medical Practice and Policy program, based in Copenhagen. This program, which also has students visit medical facilities in Sweden and Estonia, is designed so they can gain hands-on experience by shadowing medical professionals in various hospitals and clinics.
For Vilendrer this represented a rare opportunity to learn from the inside about nationalized health care systems that look quite different from private systems in the U.S. “I think we could learn from them by improving our emphasis on disease prevention,” she says.
Back at Mac
Back at Macalester this fall, Vilendrer is applying her experiences to projects on campus. As vice president of the Health Professions Student Community group, she recognized the group could benefit from her time abroad. Says Vilendrer, “Inspired by my experience abroad, I want to incorporate more opportunities for us to observe healthcare in practice.” She also is arranging campus visits by medical students and medical professionals, thus allowing them to discuss their experiences in a casual environment.