Małgorzata Patro, M.D.
Decision to study in Poland
My decision to come to Poznan for medical school was something me and my family gave much thought to. I was living in Chicago with my family, we moved there when my twin sister and I were ten, and by high school we both knew what we wanted to do; I wanted to be a doctor and she wanted to be a dentist.
None of our parents were doctors so it was a new area for all of us. We started researching schools and as much as we wanted to stay in Chicago our parents were getting older and the economy was not as it used to be so their dream was to move back to Poland. This is when we started to look into schools in Poland and came across PUMS which I believe at that time was the only school that offered dentistry in English. We called and scheduled an interview in New York and before we knew it we were both accepted and started on our Poznan journey.
My 6 year experience
Moving to Poland and starting medical school was an experience I will never] forget. I made a lot of great friends and learned not only medicine but a lot about life. I came to Poznan with my twin sister so it was nice to have a familiar face in a new place. As I was from Poland I spoke the language, but Poznan was new to me with no family in the area. We moved into dorms initially which at that time was Hotel Ikar as there was no space in current dorms. Soon after me and my sister became friends with a Canadian girl who was in the Pharmacy program and by January all three of us moved into our own apartment.
These years we spend in Poznan were filled with hard work, hours spent at the library, Collegium Anatomicum and later at various hospitals but it was all balanced with a lot of fun we had in the city. Poznan is truly an amazing place! It was always great to run into someone from your class studying at the library and later go to Browar (shopping mall) to relax after a long day.
Another great thing about studying in Poland is that you are in the center of Europe and traveling all over Europe is so easy!
As far as the 6 year program is constructed first few years are spent on studying basic sciences while the other half is spent on clinical courses. We would go to many different hospitals all through the city and learn from the experts in each field. PUMS was one of the few medical schools in Poland at that time that used the SHELF exams which is what all the medical students take in the US. This surely helped me feel prepared to face USMLE exams.
Exams and residency
I was determined to go back to the US and took my USMLEs during the summers. I took STEP 1 after my 4th year and in my 6th year was taking USMLE STEP 2, trying to do electives and apply for residency. Surely enough I got into Internal Medicine Residency in Chicago and started a month after graduating. I think that PUMS prepared me well in terms of knowledge and I was confident in taking my boards and securing a residency position.
My residency was over before I knew it and I was ready to take on another challenge. I decided to specialize in nephrology and I am currently and second year fellow at the University of Minnesota. I am starting to look for jobs and hope to return to Chicago. I cannot believe that it will be almost 10 years since I started in Poznan! My sister stayed in Poznan and is doing great as a dentist running her own clinic. This summer I had a chance to reunite with my sister and our PUMS roommate in Rome and relive the trip we all took in our first year as PUMS students. I still love to come to Poznan and have very fond memories of my beginnings. I love to see how the University is growing and expanding and I’m so proud to have had a chance to study there. The education I got at PUMS was great and what you make of the knowledge is all up to you.