SOM students University of Washington electives experience

Brian Mongare (far left) and Floria Nyandaya (far right) with their hosts.

The first day that marked the beginning of a life defining experience at the University of Washington (UW) began with the rich, strong aroma of coffee wafting through the hospital lobby, a sharp contrast to the ice cold air outside.  After all, we were at the home of Starbucks. We had such an amazing time shadowing residents and attendings in the Radiology department during this 4-week medical elective. We got undivided attention from brilliant attendings, fellows and residents who were giftedly funny, nice, and took their time to offer words of wisdom amidst amusing anecdotes. Furthermore, we did not pass up opportunities to observe and scrub in on interventional radiology procedures, on days away from the reading room.

When not engaged with radiology conferences, preparing presentations or unwinding in the radiology library, we attended medicine grand and ward rounds in Infectious disease, Neurology and General Medicine at the UW Medical Centre (read as “the Seattle Grace Hospital”). It was amazing having a maximum of 10 patients per team and actually practicing evidence-based medicine around knowledgeable patients.

This annual medical elective program offers two 5th year medical students from the University of Nairobi, a partial scholarship covering their tuition and transport costs, to visit the UW. The selectees cater for their own living expenses. We were fortunate enough to get a lovely judge couple to host us during our stay. They generously entertained us with some American traditions of Thanksgiving, watching American football, and Christmas tree shopping and decoration. We had a chance to attend our first ever Hanukkah party and interesting court sessions, including an inspiring colourful swearing in ceremony of a young superior court judge.

If not battling below freezing temperatures, riding a water taxi to school, taking walks by the Pacific Ocean and Parks, hikes by the Pacific crest, missing our bus stop, playing tuff football in the rain, or sightseeing; we would be walking by the Pike Place Market sampling wares and food. Seattle boasts such a rich food culture that we effortlessly sampled multiple incredible cuisines including Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican, Philipino and Hawaiian delicacies.

Our experience was unforgettable! We would definitely encourage you to consider this elective and feel free to reach out to us and/or previous participants should you have any questions.


Article by Floria Nyandaya and Brian Mongare.