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Student Life

Beirut: Paris of the Middle EastPlanning your elective - Lebanon

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/sbmj.030370 (Published 01 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:030370
  1. Sara Alsaraf, third year medical student1
  1. 1Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine, London

Sara Alsaraf spent her elective in Beirut. She tells us about this beautiful city and the contrasting medical experiences she had there

Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, is an ideal summer elective location because of the wonderful nature. This tiny country has Mediterranean coast along the whole of its western side and the stunning Lebanese mountains look down at you from the east. The unique and varied geography runs parallel to a turbulent political history. Some of you may associate Lebanon with the civil war that ended in 1992.

Reminders of the war can be seen all over Beirut--bullet pricked and demolished buildings--but, slowly, the city is returning to its former glory as the “Paris of the Middle East.” Downtown Beirut has been totally rebuilt and now rivals the Ramblas of Barcelona or the Piazzas in Rome in its architectural beauty. Large crowds are drawn night after night to visit the markets, clubs, and smoky cafes where people relax and puff on their apple flavoured tobacco through bubbling water pipes while sipping mint tea.

I arrived on a hot July night, preparing to face a month of obstetrics and gynaecology at the American University of Beirut Hospital. I organised the exchange through the Medical Students' International Network (MedSIN)--the UK branch of the International …

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