I almost didn’t make it to Sale on the train. I thought I was doing so well navigating the local transport until I missed my bus. After 3 hours in the train, I got off expecting to transfer to another train. I waited and waited. I thought the next train was to depart at 4.15pm. At 4.20 I realised there was no train and I was meant to have taken the bus. Lucky for me, there were too many passengers traveling to Sale and they had to call a taxi that the railway line was paying for. This worked in my favour, as I had missed that bus, and the next one was 4 hours away.

But I made it.

Sale is a lovely farm town 4 hours from Melbourne. My first impressions are that of quite a high SES town. There are beautiful man-made lakes and botanic gardens which make the town quite picturesque. I would say the town is the same size as Wairarapa, and the hospital would service a similar population number – around 30,000.

I am staying with 3 other 4th year medical students. At Monash, 4th year is the equivalent of our 5th year. The accommodation is provided by the university which is something quite different than in NZ. The Monash school facilities here are amazing. The students have an incredible lounge and education room with a simulation centre and everything. I have been going along to all the tutorials the third and fourth years have. They seem very well supported.

In terms of medicine, it has only been 4 days but I feel I have seen a little bit of everything. I spent the first one and a half days in anaesthetics where they have specialist GPs taking care of the anaesthetics. I learnt a lot from this placement and got to practise my airway management. I spent the next one and a half days in Sale Medical Centre. I got my own room and got to see patients and then present to the senior or registrar GP. Unfortunately, not too many patients were keen to be seen by a medical student and these were rather quiet days. On Thursday I spent the day in ED. The ED doctor was such a great teacher and managed to learn a lot. He even let me loose in the plaster room where I pretended to know how to plaster up an arm.

I have met many people here. I seem to have become an honorary 3rd year, attending all their tutorials, grand-rounds and attending their weekly “pot-and-parma” at the local pub on a Tuesday night. Everyone is really lovely and so inclusive. This afternoon I have been invited to attend “Teddy-bear hospital” at the local primary school and then heading off to Melbourne for the weekend.
So far so good. Looking forward to the next week!!