Mijal Schwartstein

Mijal is a medical student from Santiago, Chile. She completed her two-week medical internship at SACH in February 2020.

My name is Mijal Schwartstein, and I am a medical student from Santiago, Chile. I completed my two-week medical internship at SACH in February 2020.

Everything started when I went to Israel for 5 months after graduating high school. I went to Machon Maayan, a program where I studied Jewish studies and had trips once a week around Israel. I was able to volunteer at SACH thanks to a friend that invited me to go and it was the best decision I ever made. 

I started going every Wednesday in the afternoon to play with kids at the house in Holon, and LOVED IT. I made a meaningful connections with the kids and I was excited every week to go see them. While I was there, I heard that there was a medical internship and since I was going to start Medical School in Chile, I was excited by the idea that someday I could come back to Israel and begin a medical internship. And that’s exactly what I did…I started medical school in March 2019 and traveled to Israel for my summer vacation in February 2020.

Mijal with othman and sudi from Zanzibar

The experience was incredible. I never thought about how much I was going to learn medically and emotionally in such a short period of time. The internship consisted of going every day for two weeks to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, where I  shadowed the doctors and watched everything they had to do. More than that, they cared about us and explained to us personally about the various congenital heart diseases, performing ultrasounds, and even surgeries. 

Mijal with medical trainees from Tanzania and Ethiopia

While I was there I got the opportunity to visit the catheterization laboratory, operating room, clinic, and patients rooms, where I was able to learn from the doctors that are saving kids’ lives every single day. I was also able to examine patients, observe surgeries, read ultrasounds and have what was altogether a first clinical experience that as a first-year med student I thought I would never able to get.

I learned about and understood congenital heart disease on a deeper level. Instead of reading about it from a book, I was seeing everything: examination, diagnosis, exams, repairs and post-op evaluations. The doctors are really kind and they love to explain so you really get a better understanding of what you are seeing.

The doctors of SACH are amazing and they gave me so much more than the technical knowledge about pediatric cardiology, they gave me an example to follow and showed me a beautiful way of how to spend my working years as a doctor.

Moreover, a huge plus to the experience was staying in the SACH house with the kids, and living there while I was completing the internship. I developed a relationship with the children, their moms and the staff at the house. I thoroughly recommend that you to stay in the house, even if you have a place to stay in Israel. 

I loved the experience so much that when my day finished in the hospital I wanted to stay longer and continue learning. When I went back to the house I stayed playing with the kids until after dinner. When the kids from the house saw me in the hospital, it was warming and calming for them as they saw and recognized someone in the hospital that they were familiar with.

I invite you all to learn more about this beautiful organization that has saved thousands of lives and if you are thinking of participating in the medical internship do not doubt it, you won’t regret it.