Deepa’s updates from Spain

A view from Plaza de Colon in Madrid, Spain. Photo courtesy of Deepa Ramadurai / GlobeMed at Northwestern.

Over the summer, the GlobeMed Grapevine will also feature updates from GlobeMed members traveling abroad. GlobeMed at Northwestern Director of Individual Giving, Deepa Ramadurai, recently returned from a six week study abroad program in Barcelona, Spain. While in Barcelona, Deepa studied Spanish language, conversation, modern culture and other political issues; Deepa also had the opportunity to briefly visit Madrid, Valencia and Milan while in Europe.

The healthcare system in Spain is really interesting. For one of the classes I was taking we had a special unit on immigration within Spain because it has a huge effect on Barcelona (since Barcelona is very much considered a commercial city and not necessarily as “Spanish” as some of the other cities in Spain). Specifically, it’s really interesting that a lot of foreigners, even from the United States, come to Spain to have big medical procedures done/have expensive treatment done because the Spanish government covers healthcare for foreigners. It was really interesting thinking about that system versus the system we have here and what it would be like if we adopted a similar system.

Other than that I couldn’t have asked to be in Spain at a better time — especially with the World Cup. It was incredible! Seeing the country unite behind their team was something I am never going to forget. I was in Madrid at the time in the Plaza de Colon, which is what they probably showed on TV a lot here in the U.S. There were thousands of people there and the atmosphere was incredible. Something even more incredible was how divided the whole country was over the win. There is a lot of separation between regions in Spain so the celebration in Barcelona (the capital of Catalonia) was practically nonexistent compared to that in Madrid because of Catalonia’s general anti-Spain sentiment at all times. It was actually really sad to see how 40-year-old sentiments of anger are still carried over today. It really makes you realize how much internal struggle a lot of other countries are going through and how they idealize the American government and American legislation. A lot of my teachers would tell us that the American policy of governing was ideal for Spain and they wished Spain would adopt our system. It just made me think how much the actions and practices of each nation affects those of another and how we might not even realize this among countries we believe are considered significant world powers.

The experience all around was something I will never forget. Experiencing the Spanish culture and lifestyle firsthand was something I have always hoped to do and I’m so lucky to have been able to do so this past summer. I’m hoping to go back to Spain sometime very soon and getting more familiar with their healthcare system and the practice of medicine there as compared with what we do here. -DEEPA RAMADURAI


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