Because I grew up and spent most of my life in Edmonton, I didn’t know what to expect from living in a rural community. I was ready to go anywhere in Alberta, and I was very happy to be placed in one of the most coveted ICC sites: Hinton, Alberta.
Hinton is nestled close to the mountains, which always a great sight to wake up to in the morning.
There’s the usual stuff you can do outdoors – hiking, biking – and there are some neat attractions like the Beaver Boardwalk.
A big draw is Marmot Basin, which is a ski hill in Jasper that’s about a 90 min drive away. (Compare that to the 4+ hours from Edmonton!) PM was on the hill over 30 times – a new ICC record!
Because of our proximity to the mountains (and hence, free accommodations near the mountains!), our medical school classmates like to visit. We’ve gone to Marmot lots and have participated in the local trivia competition. We’ve won a few times. Woo!
I was curious about what the rural physicians out here did in their free time, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a diversity of interests. One of the senior physicians flies aircrafts as a hobby, and we got to go up on his personal plane!
The Rural Physician Action Plan (RPAP) takes care of accommodations for the learners at each rural site. Each unit is fully furnished so we don’t have to worry about those details. The only major thing I brought from home is my favorite studying chair!
In Hinton, the three medical students live in the same condo building but have separate units. We get along well, and we’ll occasionally hang out – usually over food and a hockey game. The food is kept simple because we’re bachelors, but it gets the job done.
Living in Hinton challenged my concept of “things to do”. Of course a town will offer different amenities from a city, but I grew to enjoy the activities in Hinton. From musical productions to arts festivals to drop-in volleyball to spin classes, there’s been enough to keep me occupied between work and studying. And the cool thing? I’ll see doctors doing the same activities. This much I’m certain: the rural docs enjoy life out here.