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A Week in the Life of a 3rd Year Medic Studying Abroad

As a 3rdyear medical student studying at Plovdiv Medical university in Bulgaria I am currently in my clinical years of medical school so here is an insight of my week:


Mondays consist mostly of lectures beginning with an 8am Diaster Medicine/General surgery lecture depending on which week it is, then an Internal medicine lecture followed by Internal medicine practical in the hospital. My highlight today was my internal medicine practical. The topic for October was respiratory diseases. In today’s session my group and I had the opportunity to inspect, palpate, percuss and auscultate a few patients from the respiratory ward where we compared sounds from each patient lungs to determine if the sounds were dull, resonance and hyper-resonance. We also had the opportunity to learn about the differences in x-rays of a normal lung appearance to someone with pleural effusion.

After this I went to the library to study for a couple of hours, followed by a gym session with a friend later on that evening.


This day consisted of 5 sessions: 3 practicals (internal medicine, hygiene and diaster medicine) and 2 lectures (hygiene and pathophysiology). The most interesting session was diaster medicine as the topic was first aid and this enabled me to draw from my previous experiences. This topic was relatively easy to understand and the order of steps to take to perform first aid were re-emphasised.


Honestly, this is the worst day for me because it is the longest day of the week. My day started at 7:45am with a Microbiology lecture. Throughout the day I had a few other practical classes which included: roentgenology and radiology and pathoanatomy. The roentgenology and radiology practical consisted of radionuclide of the diagnosis of the kidneys and the skeletal system. This main topic was bone scintigraphy- the different types, the phases, the features, evaluation and the main indications.

The day ended with a Microbiology practical session where I had a class test and it finished at 6pm.


This is the only day of the week that I don’t have lectures which means I start slightly later (only by 1 hour though). I usually start the day with a pathophysiology practical, followed by general surgery and lastly pathonatomy. However, this particular day was a public holiday in Bulgaria so this meant no university. Therefore, I spent this time wisely preparing for my upcoming pathophysiology test.


By the time it’s Friday I am usually exhausted from all the early starts throughout the week. However, I have to force myself to wake up extra early as I begin the day with a 7:30am (compulsory) general surgery lecture in the teaching hospital yes 7:30 crazy, right?

Immediately after the lecture I had a general surgery practical. This week’s topic was breast examination. During this session the professor briefly summarised the theoretical information, then went to the breast clinic. We saw a few machines that are used for breast examinations. This included 3D mammogram tomosynthesis, film and digital mammogram, ultrasound and MRI. We were informed of how each machine works, the procedures taken for each patient, the reason why each one is conducted and how they differ from each other.

I then had a quick break to grab a drink/snack then make my way from the teaching hospital to the main campus. Normally I have a pathoanamtomy lecture on Friday afternoon. However, today my group had ‘catch up’ lesson for pathophysiology since we missed yesterday’s session so we traded this instead of the lecture. We had a class test during our pathophysiology session.

I then had 2 hours to spare so decided to go grocery shopping. After this, I returned back to university for an OSCE practical session run by the OSCE society. The topic for this session was respiratory examination. During this session I discovered that I have conjunctional pallor which is a sign of anaemia. My evening consisted of catching up with a few of my friends with dinner at my house.

Written by

Shona Manning

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