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Greece Study Abroad: Exploring Medicine and Refining Faith 

A study abroad in Greece taught one premed student the value of commitment to patients and to God.  

When Caroline Catterton (CELL ’24) left to study abroad in Greece, she had no idea how vastly differently medicine was practiced around the world. “Surgeries I learned about in the United States felt like different operations in Greece due to the lack of surgical robots,” she shared. “With physical folders placed in front of me for every patient we visited, I realized how fortunate America is to have computerized charting methods, promoting organization and effectiveness.”

Inspiring Doctors with Limited Means

Despite significant limitations, Catterton was inspired by the dedication and resourcefulness of the surgical doctors she shadowed, totaling nearly 100 hours. She witnessed multiple general surgeries and many others in orthopedics; ear, nose, and throat; urology; and cardiology.

Caroline Catterton smiling in a mask and scrubs
Photo by Photo by Caroline Catterton

“I felt so grateful to be able to learn valuable healthcare techniques and advice from these doctors, who admitted they were limited in the procedures they could do because of their circumstances, yet tried all they could do to help their patients! It was inspiring,” Catterton said.   

Living Their Faith Every Day

Beyond medicine, Catterton was also deeply impacted by the culture and faith she encountered in Greece. She found the Mediterranean food, culture, and people were warm and welcoming. She also noted that different levels of healthcare or income don’t define levels of commitment to God. “I felt the holy worship radiate throughout the island as each islander sighted God as the reason they had families, jobs, and loved their lives,” she said. In the land where the Apostle Paul preached to the Thessalonians, Catterton found herself learning from the Grecians’ devotion and gratitude to Jesus Christ.  

Turquoise ocean water leading to a Greek village on the shore.

“When we would talk to the doctors in the hospital, they would attribute God for the work done to save lives,” Catterton shared. “It was evident that these people loved Heavenly Father, and it made me realize that I wanted to also be seen as someone who clearly loves God. Going forward, I wish to also radiate my devotion . . . and love for Him . . . like the Greek people I visited on my study abroad program.”

Catterton’s diligent study in the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology has paid off. She has recently been accepted into medical school. As she transitions into her medical training and career, she will be taking a little piece of Greece with her—both in her commitment to her patients and to God.