Gwanghwamun Plaza, Seoul, South Korea

Are you a medical student interested in exploring surgical fields? Do you enjoy exploring new cultures? If you answered yes to both of these, the South Korea trip could be the perfect opportunity for you! Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine offers a one-week trip to Seoul, South Korea  every August, that provides students with a great balance between clinical exposure and authentic cultural experiences.

During the day, students spend the week shadowing surgeons at the Anam Hospital – Korea University Medical Center. Shadowing opportunities range from state of the art robotic and reconstructive plastic surgeries, to open chest operations and more. In addition to observing procedures, students are occasionally invited to sit in during case presentation meetings and join attendings while they do pre- or post-op rounds on their patients. One day during the week is spent in a Traditional Korean Medicine facility, Jaseng Hospital of Korean Medicine, where students learn about the similarities and differences between Traditional Korean and Western medicine.

Outside of the hospital, students are able to see a variety of iconic sites throughout the city. Although Seoul’s intricate streets can feel overwhelming, Sung Soo Chung, Associate Director of Michigan State University Institute of Global Health, leads the trip with wonderful suggestions that are flexible to the group’s wishes. These activities include but are not limited to visiting historic districts, visiting popular shopping areas, and experiencing traditional Korean meals. Students are housed in a hotel and transported by bus to the hospital only in the morning, allowing them to explore the city via subway in the evening.  

I participated in August 2018, which was between the summer and fall semester of my second year of medical training. The timing of the Seoul trip is unique to medical students of the Osteopathic College because it is one of the few medical trips that occurs during a break longer than one week. Therefore, students have a chance to arrive early or travel nearby before the hospital and group portion of the trip begins. I explored Seoul for almost a full week before the program started, which included an unbelievable day trip to the DMZ. Other classmates chose to visit areas such as Jeju Island, Korea, or even Tokyo, Japan.

Overall, the trip was unforgettable and filled with invaluable experiences that I believe will only positively impact my medical training and practice. I urge anyone qualified to participate to consider joining, since words alone do not do the city justice.  

~ Lucy Bolerjack, OMS-III

~ Andrew Loginsky, OMS-III