Pharmacy International

What it must feel like to be a student and travel to a foreign country to study in your profession.  Not only must you be at the “top of your game” when it comes to your field of study; but you must also have the skills to communicate in a foreign country.  The effort it must take to learn the language so that the most basic of verbal communication will not be an issue.  You must also posses the ability to adapt to the incredibly foreign customs.  Not moving too fast so as to create an unexpected issue you need to work yourself back from, and not moving to slow so as to create a disproportionate communication gap. 

This process takes a special and unique individual.  Our family has had the incredible opportunity of having not only one, but three individuals who posses this critically unique skill stay with us for the last two days.  Luka is studying pharmacy at the University in Ljubljana, Slovenia, while Helena and Noura are studying pharmacy at the University in Barcelona, Spain.  Both Luka and Helena are in their final year of studies and were accepted to an exchange program so they may study pharmacy for four weeks at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tuscon, Arizona.  Noura will be moving into her second year of pharmacy studies and joined her cousin for a fantastic adventure to America.
These three students landed in Los Angeles a few days ago and stayed with a host they found on a “couch surfing” website.  First off, I can’t imagine what that must feel like, signing up over the internet to sleep on someone’s couch in a foreign country.  They had a fantastic time in L.A., and then they took a nine hour drive up Highway 1 to Santa Cruz, arriving late Thursday evening.   Amazing, just like that, they rented a car in L.A. and with nothing more than a smart phone and a GPS, these three students found their way to our front door in Santa Cruz. 

Thursday evening my wife, Susie, prepared a beautiful welcoming dinner.  We ate and talked well into the evening.  It is so great learning about where they come from, their ideas and dreams, and sharing our thoughts on life and pharmacy.  Friday I had the good fortune of having all three come and visit me in the community pharmacy that I practice in.  It was nice showing them around the pharmacy and introducing them to my co-workers.  I was grateful at how welcoming my co-workers were to my new friends.

Friday afternoon my wife and daughter took Luka, Helena and Noura down to Capitola Village.  This is a beautiful location where they all ate slices of pizza while sitting on the esplanade watching the summer tourist season in full bloom.  As if that wasn’t enough, when I got home from work we all packed up and headed down to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to listen to a band at the summer concert series.  Fantastic!  We took a blanket and sat on the beach listening to one of my favorite 80’s bands on a quintessential Santa Cruz summer evening.


Because we hadn’t eaten enough that day, we stopped at our favorite burger shop on the way home and picked up some fantastic food to feast on.  We created a nice spread around our back yard fire pit, were joined by a few more friends, and laughed and talked well into the late, foggy night.  Everyone has such fantastic stories about their life, where they have been, who their families are, and the life they lead today.
I am writing this as if it is past tense; however it isn’t.  Our friends are still here through the rest of the day and will be heading up to San Francisco this evening on another Couch Surfing adventure with a new host.    I wanted to get this written down while the excitement of the visit is still inside me, rather than the sadness of the departure.  It is an interesting feeling one gets, as if time-stands-still, during a visit like this.  Tonight our friends will be on their way, and the clock will start ticking again.

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