FAQ

1. Application
2. Plane tickets
3. Clothing
4. Accommodation
5. Food
6. Stipend
7. First days
8. Transport
9. Expenses
10. Other

1. Application

What are the fees for applying for the elective rotation?

The rotation itself is completely free. However, students will be required to cover mailing expenses and visa fees (F-1) during the application process. Additionally, expect accommodation, transport, and other living expenses while doing the rotation.

When should I apply?

Start planning your rotation well in advance. Apply at least 5-6 months in advance in order to have a higher chance to get a free spot as we operate on a first come, first served principle. You also need to have enough time to gather and send all the required documents. New rotation placements are opened every month for the next year.

Who is this rotation for?

Briefly: All medical students in the final three years of their studies.

Motivated individuals that want to familiarise themselves with medical practice in the USA and with the best technology in the field of cardiovascular medicine and cardiology. As the rotation requires significant time and financial investment make sure you take all the factors into account before applying.

Can I change the month of my rotation once I have already applied?

Unfortunately not. Once you have received a confirmation email changes are no longer possible. You must attend the rotation on the selected dates. Cancellations are possible at least 5 months in advance so we can enable another student to apply. Students that make the cancellation later will not be able to attend this elective rotation in the future.

2. Plane tickets

When should I buy the plane tickets?

We recommend you don’t wait until the last moment to buy the tickets but also don’t buy them before your placement is confirmed. Make sure you send all the required documents at least 3 months before your planned rotation as otherwise we cannot guarantee that you will receive all the necessary paperwork for your visa in time.

When making your travel arrangements also keep in mind that the visa you will receive (F-1) is valid only 28 days before the start of your rotation and you cannot enter the States before that. Read all the current information on their website. In case you enter the country before your rotation with another visa (eg. tourist visa), you need to exit and reenter the country to activate your student visa (that is mandatory in order to do your rotation). Because of that and all the possible complications with receiving the appropriate documentation, travelling to the USA before the rotation is therefore not advised.

How should I plan my arrival/departure?

Rotations start on the first day of the month and end on the last. Arrive to Houston a few days in advance in order to deal with all the administration, receive orientation classes and get used to living in Houston. Plan your departure for after the rotation has finished.

3. Clothing

What about work clothes? Do I need a white coat?

While work in the hospital you will mostly be required to wear scrubs that will be provided to you. You are not required to wash them yourselves as you are able to exchange them for a new set every day. If you have space in your luggage you can bring a white coat to wear when outside of the operating room. A stethoscope is also useful to bring.

We recommend you bring comfortable shoes (eg. sneakers), because work days are long and require a lot of standing next to the operating table.

What about outside of the hospital?

For special events that you might be invited to it is recommended to bring a business attire, however it isn’t mandatory.

When deciding what clothes to bring we recommend taking into consideration the current weather conditions. The temperatures vary between 5°C during the winter and  45°C during the summer.

4. Accommodation

One option is the apartment that Eva Pongratz is leasing for the students again this year. The apartment holds up to 3 students. The price is $1,200 for the month. So if we have 3 students in there, it will be $400 per month. For two students, of course, $600. The apartment is very private, nice and modern and equipped with all your needs (dishes, towels, sheets, etc). It has a nice patio, pool and laundry facility on the property and is in a good area as well (Kirby and Holcombe).  The bus line is very close to the house and you can almost see Memorial Hermann from there (that’s how close it is). Contact Ms Pongratz for more info if you are interested in staying there.

5. Food

There are restaurants, small cafeterias, fast food restaurants with a variety of food in the hospital and in the surrounding area. Expect to spend about 15 USD for food daily.

6. Stipend

Slovene students are able to get a stipend for studying abroad from the Javni sklada RS za razvoj kadrov in štipendije. Every year usually in November there is a call for applications to be made: Javni razpis štipendij za študijske obiske slovenskih dijakov in študentov v tujini, through which you are able to receive 500 EUR for travel costs plus 70 EUR for every full week of living abroad. This should be enough to cover the most basic expenses.

We recommend you read the documentation very carefully so that you are successful with receiving the stipend. With the application, you need to provide a programme description that you can find on this website. You also need to provide a certificate from the faculty that this elective rotation will be either be considered a part of your undergraduate training or in your Diploma Supplement.

After completing your rotation make sure you send them a report that they require!

In Ljubljana, the appropriate Katedra can issue the certificate you need.

7. First days

What should I expect on the first day of arrival?

You will receive a confirmation email and instructions for when to visit the Jamie Munsinger’s office at the UTHSC Medical School in advance. She will tell you where to get the ID badge and send you to the International Office where you will be checked-in. Usually, this happens one day before the start of your rotation. If you haven’t received a flu shot you will be required to get one. Next, you will have to activate the ID badge and take a tour of the operating rooms. You will be showed how to scrub in for surgeries, where your lockers are, and how to get your work clothes.

A few days after you have completed all the administrative requirements, you will receive via email instructions on how to take the Patient Records Training, that you must complete within seven days of receiving the email. This training is mandatory before you are allowed to work in the department.

8. Transport

Am I able to get any discounts as a student?

Getting around Houston is a bit difficult as the distances between places are usually pretty big and locals therefore mostly use cars.

The metro system consists of one metro line and multiple bus lines. You can get the Metro Q-Card with which one trip costs 60 c. Students are able to get this card with a student confirmation form from the UT Health Office (Jamie Munsinger).

Other options are rent-a-car services that are very useful for weekend trips. Yellow Cab taxis are also available but they don’t collect passengers from everywhere. During the winter months when it is not that warm purchasing a cheap bike from Walmart is also a good option, especially if you are staying for two months. Some motels offer free or cheap shuttle services to and from Texas Medical Center. Despite all this, be prepared to cover long distances by foot as well.

9. Expenses

How much money should I bring with me?

Monthly expenses:

Living: 500 – 850$
Transport: 15$ for metro, taxi/Uber prices for short distances around 10 USD, Blue shuttle from the airport for approx. 20 USD, taxi from the airport approx. 70 USD
Food: 450$
Other expenses: trips, basketball games, concerts, shopping, etc.

Visa: approx. 300 EUR
UPS: approx. 40-50 EUR

*Expect expenses to be higher just in case.

Cash or credit/debit card?

We recommend you bring both cash and credit card. Expect additional costs when withdrawing money from ATMs in the USA. Card payments are widely accepted.

10. Other

Can the rotation be a part of the surgery/internal medicine clinical rotations in the final year?

Yes if this is agreed upon by the head of the applicable department (nosilci kateder). Make sure you contact the departments well in advance.

If the student does not qualify for the rotation to be part of their surgery/internal medicine clinical rotations, the rotation can be a part of the Diploma Supplement.

For the rotation to be considered a part of the clinical rotations in Ljubljana:

    • internal medicine: all exams that would be required to start the clinical rotations in Slovenia must be passed before starting the elective rotation (up to 4 weeks can be completed in the USA, 11 weeks of clinical rotations must still be completed in Ljubljana)*
    • surgery: all exams that would be required to start the clinical rotations in Slovenia must be passed before starting the elective rotation as well as the surgical practicum (kirurški praktikum). The ambulatory part (2 weeks) and any other special tasks must still be done in Ljubljana. The ambulatory part can only be done after the rotation in Houston. Special tasks are usually in the beginning of every term**

*You need to get an ‘evidenčni list’ from the Department of Internal Medicine that your mentors in Houston need to sign. After coming back return the list to the Department.

**You need to get an ‘evidenčni list’ and ‘list posegov’ from the Department of Surgery after you meet all the requirements that your mentors in Houston need to sign and stamp. After coming back return both original lists to the Department.

Katere dokumente potrebujem s strani izvajalcev programa?

We recommend that you ask Eva Pongratz to prepare a letter of recommendation and a certificate of completion of the elective rotation for you about a week before your departure.

Is it possible to do an elective rotation at any other departments?

Unfortunately not. Cardiovascular Surgery and Cardiology rotations are only possible because of the direct involvement of Dr Gregoric and we are working directly under his supervision. We highly recommend you choose this elective rotation even if neither of these medical specialities is your career interest as you will gain valuable experiences and are able to make personal contacts once at the TMC with other departments.

Should I apply for the rotation?

Of course!