'This programme helps me to be more independent to build my own pathway as a future epidemiologist.'

I am a medical doctor graduated from the National University of the Peruvian Amazon in 2015 in Iquitos, the capital of the Peruvian Amazon. Before coming to Antwerp, I was working as a clinical coordinator at hospital sites in Iquitos. While conducting and coordinating studies I realized that my knowledge on research was limited. The little knowledge on Epidemiology that I obtained from med school was not enough to be involved in the research I am interested. That frustrated me a lot because I always wanted to be part of the whole process on conducting research, not just in the medical field. So, that encouraged me to quit my job and start this new stage of my career.

What are your impressions of the Epidemiology programme?

I am in the second year now and I must say that the study programme is very well organized. Since the beginning they offered us assistance whenever we struggle. During lectures there is an active participation from the students whom can freely exchange their ideas and doubts with the professors. The professors here encouraged us to be more proactive and work as a team. This has helped me to be more independent to build my own pathway as a future epidemiologist.

In my point of view, passion, pragmatism and challenging are the strongest qualities of the professors and the administrative staff to make this program possible, which inspires me to be better as a professional and as a person.

I had the opportunity to study at another European University a couple of years ago and compared to the University of Antwerp I could say that there is more use of technology, information is always updated and there are several activities, out of regular lectures, which give us more opportunities to develop our own career prospective.

What do you think of our city?

The first time I came to Antwerp I was impressed of how clean the city is and the beautiful architecture, for instance, Antwerp central station is one of the most beautiful places that

I’ve been in Europe, its architecture captures and preserve old time in history with a gothic style which I really like. My favorite spot in Antwerp is when I cross the river by boat. From the river you can have a nice view of the city, especially in Spring and Summer.

The Belgium people that I know so far has been very kind, respectful and polite to me, but I can see that it is very important to learn Dutch in order to make close Belgium friends. English is not enough for it.

What can you recommend to future epidemiology students?

Do make friends, exercise and if you have the opportunity to learn Dutch, do so. That will help you to get along in every aspect here and it is always nice to learn another language. Belgium people would appreciate it.

What are your plans for the future?

As much as I would love to stay longer in Antwerp I will have to return to my home country. I will start looking for jobs as an epidemiologist in Lima to acquire work experience and eventually to do more research on public health and for clinicians. Eventually I will start preparing myself for medical residency as I also want to become a family doctor.