Intern Abroad

Practical year in Kilkenny

September 28th, 2023 | by
  • Medicine
  • Ireland, Kilkenny
  • St. Luke’s General Hospital
  • 07/2023 – 09/2023

My time in Kilkenny was an outstanding experience that combined enhancing medical skills with
personal enrichment. This report reflects about different aspects of my stay, such as the
application process, finding an accommodation, my everyday routine during the internship, and
my explorations of Ireland’s stunning landscapes.

1. Application/Finding an internship
I discovered St. Luke’s General hospital during an online search on the webpage PJ-ranking. This
webpage is used for writing reviews about the internships throughout the practical year and
students may leave contact addresses to facilitate connections between medical students and
healthcare institutions. The webpage featured positive reviews about the hospital in Kilkenny,
indicating its reputation for providing valuable learning experiences and exposure to various
medical specialties. The opportunity to rotate through multiple wards, including gastroenterology,
cardiology, and the emergency department, was a significant factor that aroused my interest.
The application process for the practical year internship in Internal Medicine was initiated by
applying via email to St. Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny, Ireland. The application included a
comprehensive CV, a cover letter detailing the applicant’s motivations, relevant experiences, and
aspirations for the internship. After a few days I received a positive answer and was accepted. It
was well-organised and I received a letter of acceptance stating necessities which had to be
fulfilled. One of the primary requirements for participation was the submission of proof of
vaccination against common infectious diseases. In addition to vaccination, the acceptance letter
outlined the necessity of obtaining comprehensive insurance coverage. This insurance was
specifically aimed at covering any potential accidents that might occur during the intern’s work
hours, especially those linked to medical errors. After submitting all necessary documents, I
booked my flight ticket and the journey could begin.

2. Accommodation & Living Expenses
While the hospital lacked on-campus accommodation, they provided valuable support by sharing
contact details of two landlords offering shared housing. I found myself settled into a cosy
residence just a 25-minute bike ride from the heart of the city and an even shorter ride of 15
minutes to the hospital. The landlord provided the bicycles, which facilitate transport a lot.
Kilkenny is connected to various cities through buses and has a train station. With the rent
amounting to a reasonable 165 Euro per week, the accommodation proved to be a good option
regarding prices in Ireland. The landlady’s kind demeanour and willingness to assist with any
concerns enhanced my stay. Living standard in Ireland is higher compared to Germany. There are
two cards that reduce prices on public transport and for visiting cultural sights. I would highly
recommend buying both cards. The leap card is for public transport and the heritage card for

3. Everyday Life/The Internship
My daily routine during the internship typically started at 9 am with ward rounds or in the
outpatient department. Ireland does not have the concept of resident physician. Therefore,
patients attend their GP when facing a medical issue and will then be transferred to a doctor in
hospital as an ambulant patient. During my time I started working in the hepatology unit. Common
diseases with whom patients presented with were viral hepatitis, alcoholic steatohepatitis and
autoimmune liver disease. Later, I got the chance to follow the gastro team on the wards. What
truly set this experience apart was the hands-on involvement. Although students in their practical
year cannot work as much practical as in Germany, but the more my colleagues knew about my
skills, the more they allowed me to help them. My tasks varied between inserting i.v. lines, taking
histories, writing prescriptions and discharge letters. My work has always been supervised by an
intern, so I have never experienced feeling overwhelmed or being left alone. By mid-August, the
Irish students returned after their summer break. This was a great experience because we got in
contact quite quickly and did activities together. Moreover, by the time they came back they
established daily teaching sessions twice a day, enhancing my understanding of medical practices.
Kilkenny is a charming city located in the heart of Ireland with a rich history, vibrant culture, and
plenty of attractions to explore. After work, I had the chance to explore most of its cultural
heritage. Kilkenny Castle is a magnificent medieval building that offers an insight to Ireland’s past.
Second, there is St. Canice’s Cathedral. This historic cathedral features a round tower with
breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside. Not to forget about the traditional
pubs with live music. They really convey the typical image of Irish culture and tradition.

4. Free Time/Tips
Ireland’s nature is stunning! You have never seen 1000 different varieties of green? In Ireland you
will! Its rainy days must be mentioned as well, but the moment you bought rain trousers and
wellies you are prepared; the journey can start. My exploration led me to places like Kenmare,
Ring of Kerry, Limerick, Killarney, Cork, Tramore, and Dunmore East’s stunning cliff walk. My
favourite trips were the Ring of Kerry and walking along the beach in Tramore. The Ring of Kerry
is a marvellous road leading you through the coastal region in the southwest.
And then there is Dublin. Dublin, with its iconic attractions, including Trinity College and Temple
Bar. Dublin, a digital hub, a vivid city with its rough north side and dignified south side. Dublin,
being a cultural centre with the national gallery of Ireland, Dublin castle and much more to be
I would recommend having a car in Ireland, because it facilitated journeys to remote countryside
locations that public transport often couldn’t access. Luckily, one of the other German students
brought his car with him. From time to time, we took trips together.

5. Conclusion
In retrospect, my stay in Kilkenny was an experience I don’t want to miss. The combination of
getting to know a different healthcare system, learning medical work in another country and being
warmly welcomed made my stay unforgettable. It has enriched me in so many ways, being it
personal or professional. Therefore, I am grateful for this experience.

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