Dear Finals, Thank You; PAMSA: A Cultural Voyage of a Lifetime; Nothing Ever Ends

Dear Finals, Thank You; PAMSA: A Cultural Voyage of a Lifetime; Nothing Ever Ends

Dear Finals, Thank You

I came back on the 12th of January. My first final exam was the 18th of January. My final final was on the 4th of the next month. The trip was awesome. Frankly, these 12 days were unforgettable. When I came back to Montreal, my first shock was to see that nothing really changed. Did it sadden me? I guess a bit… but then again, I didn’t have time. The only post-trip trauma I felt was maybe some awkwardness since I didn’t have time to feel much else.

This is why I would like to thank you, BioMol final, Anatomy final, Microbio final, Sociology final, Philosophy final and especially you, dear BioCell final. You guys have distracted me so much I hardly had time to feel how it is to « get back to reality ».

Now that my finals are over. I could finally look back at the trip : The following is a text I wrote not too long ago :

PAMSA: A Cultural Voyage of a Lifetime 

The regional meeting is over and my daily routines welcome me back. Although time seems to always move forward, I can’t stop looking back. This meeting has changed me, both by enriching me academically and by enriching me culturally.


I went to the regional meeting as a new Local Exchange Officer for my University and came out much more motivated. In fact, before the regional meeting, I thought that my job only consists of dealing with technicalities. After the meeting, I realized that my job is also about culture integration and understanding. In brief, the meeting opened my eyes to the real goals of a Local Exchange officer. 


This is a short enumeration of what I have learnt in the meeting:

–          How to adapt to a stranger’s culture

–          The difference between a group and a team

–          How to build a Welcome Package

–          How to build a Social Program

–          The history of Global Health

–          Doctor Migration

–          How to be a leader

–          How to finance and market


Throughout my formation, I’ve gotten the chance to communicate and debate with people from all over the Americas. Doing so, I’ve learnt about the social-economic situations of many countries. Our dialogues mainly focused on medical student selections and health care systems.


Surprisingly, most healthcare systems in the Americas are similar. Thus, most healthcare issues were similar. For example, in all countries where the system was public, there was a waiting line problem.


In Quebec, one healthcare issue is that doctors do things they’re overqualified to do. By contrast, in El Salvador, civilians could be formed to help in pregnancies. This reduces the doctor’s workload. Maybe it is time to get influenced by such a system by giving more responsibilities to other health care workers to reduce Quebec’s doctors’ workload.


Otherwise, here’s an interesting fact I learnt of the Netherlands (yes, there was a person from Holland in PAMSA): In the Netherlands, Medical students are selected through a lottery where the higher the student’s grades are, the more the student has a chance to get “picked from the hat”.  On the other hand, if the student’s grades are sufficiently high, the student gets automatically accepted.


Here’s another interesting fact but this time, from Costa Rica: To sustain a public health system and a public education, the Costa Rica government had to remove their military.  


Thankfully, I luckily got the chance to appreciate the country of El Salvador. I got the see the challenges the poor and the luxury of the rich. I’ve also seen the fear of the rich towards the poor. I got to appreciate the mountains and the local food. It’s definitely not a place I would love to live in, but definitely a place that is worth visiting.


All in all, I would love to share this beautiful experience with everyone. Thankfully, this is possible through writing. The Quebec delegation wrote a blog ( documenting the Regional and Pre-Regional Meeting. In the blog, you see daily reflections of 9 Quebec delegates who went on a cultural voyage of a lifetime.


To conclude this blog entry, here’s what I wrote on the plane coming back to Montreal from El Salvador :

Nothing Ever Ends

Saturday, january 12th, 2013. Last blog entry. I am heading by plane to Montreal, just watched a terrible movie and don’t feel bad whatsoever for some odd reason. Maybe it’s because my mind is elsewhere. Am I thinking of school? No… I think I’m thinking on how to conclude my blog.

Perhaps I should conclude this blog with a description of the movie I saw : 20 bike chase scenes in 90 minutes. No… That’s not right. How about  :   The Earth is black, with patches of light. Not too sure what’s that supposed to mean…
How about in a cheesy way : My journey in Salvador has changed me forever. I’ve learnt new things and am ready to go back to Montreal. No… to obvious. How about in an existantialist way : ever since my trip to latin america, my views of life have changed… why are we here? What’s the point of studying the poor considering that if ever the human race disapeers, the universe would not even notice. No… to depressing. Let’s try a bitter conclusion : I don’t wanna go back to misery, to a place where everyone is in their own bubble and small talk all the time. Bah… not good either. Let’s conclude positively : My journey in Salvador shows me the potential that simple medical students have to change the world. This is only the beginning, in a few years, the world will definitely be a better place… I don’t know why… this doesn’t seem right either. Here’s a depressing conclusion : my life will not be as good as what it was 2 weeks ago… no!no!no! Nothing here seems to be working.

Perhaps this blog is not meant to be concluded as much as it’s not meant to be continued. Indeed, even if I don’t write new entries anymore, I will continue to express myself through what I experienced in this Regional Meeting. In fact, nothing seems to ever end…