This fellowship is highly recommended for everyone interested in facial plastic surgery, its on of the greatest professional experiences I had. The amount of experience you get during the fellowship is vast. Moreover you get it from some of the best plastic surgeons in the field.
Moving around in Rotterdam was easy, you get all sorts of transportation means, buses, trains, metro, tram, bike. The same goes for Stuttgart, lots of different transportation, the airport in Stuttgart is really close to the city. Both cities were amazing, vivid, safe and friendly. The weather in Rotterdam was rather rainy during my time, in Stuttgart on the other hand was really sunny and nice. Language is not an issue, everybody speaks English even for everyday interactions. Accommodation in Rotterdam was excellent, all the apartments are located at walking distance from Erasmus. The same for Stuttgart, good, clean, organised accommodation, you don’t have to worry about anything. The cost of living depends on what you want to do. You can’t say that Rotterdam is a cheap city, but you can manage well if you have realistic expectations and manage your budget. I found Stuttgart a bit cheaper on average goods, but again it’s all about management. An advice to future fellows: don’t bring your car in Rotterdam, it’s a very green city so the monthly cost for parking is equivalent to an apartment rental! On the other hand having a car in Stuttgart is not a problem, you can move in the center and around more freely. A plus for Rotterdam is it’s location. Being in the center of Europe it’s easy to travel during weekends to all sorts of different places.
The training is designed to be one on one and more important it stays like that and the trainers are very keen on teaching without hesitation. It’s a hands-on experience, you scrub and participate actively, no training through a looking glass, the fellow can do a lot, depending on the status of the operation. To be honest, you have so many different choices for surgery each day so that even if you miss something one day you will definitely have the chance to attend another day. It’s all about cherry picking! My advice to future fellows: all the different surgeries are really tempting, decide on which you prefer to focus, time unfortunately is finite. The supervisors are very up to date and good at what they do, I had the chance to see live follow ups of their cases and moreover they use all the modern techniques and modalities to achieve the best result. I felt very welcome and all the people in the hospital and clinics were very supportive. Especially the colleagues in Stuttgart embraced me very warmly (many thanks to my Schwäbisch friends!).
To conclude, I think it was a great opportunity and I feel very honoured being chosen amongst many to participate in this fellowship. I feel I grew surgically a great deal due to the exposure I had and moreover I had a really great time in both places during the program.