7 Tips for Young Ophthalmologists who start their Fellowship Abroad

1. Be ready for the country you move

It is always better to prepare yourself mentally for the country you move to, especially if the country you move to differs culturally a lot from your own. It will help you to avoid a cultural shock or any other misinterpretation of the attitude of locals towards you. Each country has its own culture and tradition and being prepared for that in advance will help you to avoid any misunderstandings between you and “new people”.

2. “New person syndrome”

I believe it is a very common rule that when you are new somewhere (kinder garden, school, class, work and etc.) you are going to be a person who will gain attention, judgment and sometimes even a critical approach towards yourself from the people surrounding you and from colleagues at your workplace. Don’t let this demotivate you. Give yourself some time for adaptation at your work environment. Set your own limit. People may like you or may not. It is important to be yourself, and try not to worry at your period of adaptation.

3. Be humble.

Given that the “new person syndrome” is already putting you in a position in which your colleagues subconsciously might see you as a competitor. At that point it is crucial to stand your ground without making someone else feel threatened by you. There might be situations where you may know something in terms of professional skills or knowledge but let other share their information with you anyway. Even pretending that you learned something interesting or new creates a common ground which could help future interpersonal developments with your colleagues. By doing so you will only gain but not to lose. As time passes your people who surround you will understand what your abilities are, what skillset you have and how far your knowledge reaches.

4. Work hard

Only by working hard you will be able to adapt to new places and gain the respect of your colleagues. It also shows them who you are and what they can expect from you. Don’t forget about your “take home” notes. Sometimes it can be hard to read new topics or articles at a work place so it is advised to make a proper plan of which materials you want to process at home.

5. Try to interact

When you move to another country, especially somewhere with an absolutely different culture and you are working with colleagues from this culture, then you should proactively try to talk to them in your break time. Show them how interested you are in their country, traditions and culture. It will help you to cross the “new person” border. Also try finding likeminded people whom you would like to interact with also outside of work.

6. Don’t overwork

Distract yourself after work with your favourite activities. Explore the city in your “day off” if you like sightseeing. If you like training and if it is the part of your daily life, find a gym in the area close to your work, find dancing lessons if you like dancing and etc. The main thing is to do something which can totally switch your brain off from your work.

7. Find friends

The best way of finding friends and meeting new people is by joining an international community. If you are a person who travels a lot or open to meet people from different countries, then it is good to have an account in social networking websites like Internations.org. It could be the first step of meeting new people at the event this community organizes and gradually making new friends.


Tukezban Huseynova, MD
Chairman of YO Committee of Assistance for Development of
Modern Ophthalmology (ADMO) Union, Azerbaijan
SOE YO National Representative,
[email protected]
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