German as an advantage in medical school applications: Stuart Gilreath ’14 looks back

Does studying German and interning and Germany really help Science majors in their med school applications and careers? We recently caught up with CofC alum Stuart Gilreath ’14, currently a medical student at the University of South Carolina, to ask about his experience as a minor in German at CofC and intern at a hospital in Germany through our Cultural Vistas Summer Internship program.

Stuart Gilreath ’14 (Biology and German, Honors College), currently in med school at the University of South Carolina.

“During the summer of 2012 I enrolled in the Cultural Vistas Summer Internship program alongside a handful of other students. This program provides a wide variety of internship opportunities. Members of my group were awarded internships in business, publishing, sports management, art management, chemistry, and healthcare. My internship took me to the Chirurgische Klinik und Poliklinik TU, München, where I shadowed surgeons and medical students. Beyond simply shadowing, some of my other tasks included holding retractors during surgery and assisting with wound dressing (under supervision, of course).

Over the course of the summer my German skills improved significantly, and I was provided the opportunity to gain valuable hospital experience while living in Munich, a beautiful and navigable city with everything you expect in a German city: outstanding public transit, beautiful parks, excellent food, and great beer. As a bonus, this internship program looked great on my medical school applications. Almost every single one of my medical school interviews started with a question about my summer at a “hospital in…Germany??”

Studying German has benefited me academically and professionally. I found it to be a culturally enriching addition to an otherwise primarily science-oriented education. All my professors were enthusiastic and supportive, and found entertaining ways to practice the language, such as composing character monologues to perform for the class or writing narrative papers. I would strongly encourage anyone interested in foreign language or experiences abroad to consider German!”

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