[International Office] Interview with Dr.Koukourikis
1) Please introduce yourself.
2) Where is your working place back in your country and what is your specialty?
Working place: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
3) How did you get to know Severance? Why did you choose Severance as your training hospital?
Severance Hospital is a well-recognized hospital and one of the
busiest robotic centers in the world. During my search for a fellowship, I
have got a lot of information through the hospital website and from the
Endourology Society website, which is affiliated with Severance Hospital as a training
center. I chose Severance Hospital for my training because the Urology Department
in Severance Hospital is well-known globally for their academic, clinical, and
4) How long is your training period in Korea?
I will stay for one year fellowship training program, I started my training in February 2020.
5) Which area did you focus on during your fellowship at Severance?
The area is Minimally Invasive Surgery & Robotic Urological Surgery.
6) What is the most impressive feature of Severance Hospital?
Severance Hospital is a milestone of Korean Medical History. I was impressed when I learned that this is the oldest western-type hospital in Korea. Another important feature is the fact that the first Medical school was also opened here, where the first Medical students in Korea were educated. Firstly, I was introduced to the history of the Severance Hospital by a small museum that exists in the main building, but I learned more details during my Severance International Fellowship - Prime Course(SIF-PC).
7) What are the specific contents of your fellowship program at Severance?
I am a Urologist and I graduated recently from my residency program in Greece, took the Greek and European exams for the urology board successfully. The main content of my fellowhsip in Severance was Urologic oncology. This fellowship is focused on treating patients diagnosed with malignancy of the urinary system using minimally invasive techniques. It includes the use of robotic assistance for surgery but also laparoscopy. Furthermore, I had the chance to be involved in functional urology surgeries, treating patients with incontinence and bladder outlet obstruction.
8) What was your first impression of Korea?
I didn’t know a lot of things about Korea before coming for my fellowship. I had watched documentaries about the Korean War, as Greece helped that period by sending soldiers here, and I knew that the country was destroyed during the war. Now, I can see a very developed country in all sectors, credits to Koreans, who work very hard and made their country develop very rapidly after the war. This is also obvious in my everyday training : Everyone is doing their best for the patient.
9) What is the best memory so far during your stay here?
Every single day living in Korea is unique and I have many nice memories. The most interesting part was meeting people from different cultures and discussing with them about various aspects of life. I have made a lot of friends during my stay in Korea, Koreans and also people from other countries. I learned many things through discussions and my horizons have been broadened.
10) What are your thoughts and feelings about the way Korea is dealing with COVID-19, and what is the situation like in your home country?
Korea managed the COVID-19 pandemic very effectively. To be honest, I was a a bit worried about the situation when I arrived in February 2020 as it was the first country after China where the virus occurred. However, I understood that I will be safer here than being in any other place in the world. Greece managed the first wave pretty well, a lockdown was performed for almost 3 months, from March to May, and the number of cases and deaths was relatively low compared to other European countries. However, as in every European country, the second wave of COVID-19 is more severe. My colleagues back home are giving a big fight with the virus. I hope this situation to be finished soon and all the people around the world to be healthy.
12) Who are you most thankful for at Severance (who helped you the most) & why?
I got help from many people in Severance and I am thankful for them. My special thanks to Severance Academy(International Office) and the staffs (Mrs. Lee & Mrs. Park) who guided me in collecting the appropriate documents for my training and visa application. The OR staff and nurses were supporting and made me understand the everyday working routine. Of course, I am grateful to my supervisor for my robotic and laparoscopy skills improvement. Finally, I would like to thank Prof. Woong Kyu Han and Prof. Jang Hwan Kim who let me be involved in their surgeries.
13) If you were to get the chance to come back, which field of clinical study would you like to focus on?
I believe that I made the right decision and chose Urologic oncology as my main field of studying and training in Korea. Severance is a referral center for these cases and the experience of treating so many cases is very important for my future career. If I would have the chance to come back I would like to be trained more in other sub-specialties of Urology such as functional and female urology as well as in endourology.
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