An update on my erasmus placement experience

Hey guys, it’s Eleni reporting back from sunny Greece. You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m doing my placement year in the nuclear medicine department of AHEPA hospital in Thessaloniki, Greece. So far it has been one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences of my life.

The sunset on a warm evening of March in Thessaloniki.

Aristotle square in Thessaloniki, overseeing the sea.

My first emergency case

One of the most adrenaline filled moments so far was when I saw my first ever emergency case. It was an emergency scintigram for a patient with a mystery bleed in the abdominal area. The patient was losing blood quickly so the doctors had to act fast. They diverted the patient to our department in order to obtain a clear image of their intestines and the entire area of the stomach. Luckily the team here worked fast and efficiently, located the bleed and the patient was sent off to surgery.

Volunteering with refugees

Greece is currently in the midst of a refugee influx from neighbouring countries. During my time here I have joined a youth group of volunteers that help both refugees and political immigrants. The work varies from teaching English, organising events like football tournaments with the kids to giving out essentials such as food and clothing or even helping them with doctors’ appointments or enrolling into school.

In the hospital we also have many patients come in who are refugees and therefore can’t really speak Greek. In these instances, a translator accompanies them and our goal is to help them feel as safe and comfortable as possible.

In life it is always important to balance out working and having fun. In contrast to the seriousness of the previous paragraph, Greece is also one of the most well-known countries for entertainment and relaxation. The spirits are always high creating a sense of happiness and optimism no matter what, which inevitably helps people carry on with everyday life with a smile on their face.

Carnival celebrations

Let me just start by saying, the carnival in Greece is crazy fun. ‘Wine and suvlaki day’ as I call it happens on a Thursday at the end of February every year. Celebrations, people dressing up, parties, a lot of dancing and enjoying local Greek food is the best part. And of course, we had to celebrate one of the best days of the year in the nuclear medicine department of the hospital. We all got dressed up, cheered up all of our patients and ended the day eating gyros with the doctors, nurses, technicians and other placement students.

The central square of my hometown, Kozani during the festive days of the carnival. The celebrations in the town square start during the day and carry on all the way through to the evening.

The central square in the evening, packed with people celebrating the carnival. The fire pit in the middle of the crowd is called a ‘fanos’ and it’s the tradition for people to sing and dance around it.


All in all, this year has been eye opening and filled with new experiences that I would not have had the opportunity to pursue, had I not decided to do a placement year. There is still more to come and I can’t even begin to imagine what the final 3 months of my placement have in store for me.