Summer Centered: Anna-Sophia Capizzi ’20 Learns Medical Specialties and Spanish
The biology major is spending her summer exploring a series of different medical fields with the Clínica Universidad de Navarra in Spain and soaking in the culture during her free time.
Biology major Anna-Sophia Capizzi ’20 is multitasking; as a visiting pre-medical intern with the Clínica Universidad de Navarra near Pamplona, Spain, she is simultaneously exploring a multitude of medical fields and having a study abroad-like experience. The opportunity has primarily been helping her sort through which medical field she might eventually want to pursue, but along the way she’s also made time to take in some European culture.
“I am on the pre-med track at Haverford, but I have not been able to discern which medical field I am specifically interested in,” said Capizzi. “During this internship, I am able to explore different medical fields—specifically obstetrics, pediatrics, surgery, and internal medicine—by shadowing doctors in these respective fields as they tend to patients on a day to day basis.”
This shadowing process has led Capizzi into some rather spectacular experiences—even only a month in to her internship, she has some incredible stories to share.
“One day, after I had shadowed my supervisor and attended to several urgent-care patients, two doctors, who we were sitting in the office with, got a call and had to run downstairs. My supervisor recommended that I follow, but I was not sure where we were going,” said Capizzi. “The two doctors told me to put on scrubs, a hair cover, and shoes and follow them into a room. Upon entering, it was obvious that I was witnessing a birth and the two doctors I was following were the mother’s gynecologists. The clinic is small and there aren’t many births, so this experience was not only an incredible event to witness, but the timing was also really lucky.”
“This internship gives me the opportunity to explore [medical] options, but I am also able to have a ‘study abroad’ experience, while learning the Spanish language,” said the fine arts minor. Capizzi is enthusiastic about learning Spanish because the language will allow her to help more people who are typically overlooked by the American healthcare system.
“Part of my interest in medicine is to be able to use that training to serve the medically underserved in America, including Spanish-speaking immigrants,” said Capizzi. “Improving my proficiency in this language is critical for this type of work, and I am so lucky to have an opportunity that can enhance my Spanish-speaking ability as well as explore my interests in medicine.”
Capizzi’s location near Pamplona has brought her close to one of Spain’s most notable cultural centers. Despite the busyness of her work-week, she’s still been able to find time to explore the region and is even planning on taking in Pamplona’s most celebrated tradition.
“Pamplona is most famous for the ‘running of the bulls’ event within the festival of San Fermin, which starts July 6,” said Capizzi. “I will witness the running of the bulls—from a safe apartment view—and have also been invited to a ‘corrida,’ or bullfight, in the Plaza de Torros.”
It’s the complete immersion of her experience that makes it the most meaningful to Capizzi: by spending her time in Spanish-speaking communities and exploring different medical fields in this context, she finds nearly every moment to be both socially and professionally enriching. Witnessing enormous cultural events like the running of the bulls may form something of an exclamation point on her entire summer, but it’s the totally holistic nature of her experience that means the most to her.
“Although being present for these famous events is an amazing opportunity, I’ve found the entire ‘abroad’ experience to be so eye-opening and rewarding,” she added. “Through weekend travels with my host family, I have seen different cities in Spain, such as Madrid [and] Cullera, and have even gone to a beach in France. I have been immersed in the language and the everyday culture, including the amazing food, and am so grateful to have been afforded this experience.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.