Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Honors Program in Medical Education


When I started the HPME program at Northwestern, I was thrilled to be working towards a career in medicine. Little did I know that three years later, far from the fast-paced lifestyle of Evanston and Chicago, I would be teaching English at a primary school in Seville, Spain.

As an undergrad, I majored in psychology and took advantage of the flexible HPME curriculum by taking a diverse set of classes ranging from Russian Literature to Microeconomics. Because of my early acceptance to medical school, I was able broaden my interests during my undergraduate years. I represented the school as a tour guide, played a number of intramural sports, and attended Northwestern Hillel on a regular basis. I also worked at a psychiatric genetics lab at ENH Research Institute, where I was able to contribute to research about the heritability of schizophrenia.

Midway through my junior year, I realized that I wanted to spend some time abroad before starting at Feinberg. HPME allowed me to defer my medical studies for one year, without the stress of having to apply for medical school. I decided to come to Spain so that I could improve my Spanish, the most useful second language for physicians working in the United States.

Thanks to HPME, I have spent a year living in Andalucía, one of the most beautiful and culturally rich areas of Spain. I have been lucky enough to travel around Europe, and have had the opportunity to visit England, France, Portugal, Italy, and Greece. As I prepare to start at Feinberg, I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity that HPME has given me to travel and experience a new culture first-hand. My experiences abroad have helped me to grow personally, and have further motivated me to pursue a career in medicine.

Ilya Andalucia