Antonis Nicolaides and Emmanouil Liodakis: 100 percent dedication for patients

Their work is stressful, demands enormous concentration and makes them put in lots of overtime. Every day brings new challenges to the two doctors Antonis and Emmanouil. After finishing medical school, they applied for positions in Germany. Today these two friends are doing what they’ve always dreamed of.

by Bettina Ruhland

Antonis and Emmanouil © Ruhland/DAAD
Antonis and Emmanouil . © Ruhland/DAAD


Name: Antonis Nicolaides
Country of origin: Cyprus
Employer: DKH Hannover (Henriettenstiftung Diakonie Hospital, since May 2012)
Position: Assistant physician for anaesthesia and intensive care
University study: Medicine at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) (2004-2011)
In Germany since: 2003

Name: Emmanouil Liodakis
Employer: Hannover Medical School (MHH) (since 2007)
Position: Specialist in emergency surgery and orthopaedics, habilitated as a guest lecturer at the MHH
University study: Medicine at the University of Marburg (2000-2002)
In Germany since: 2007

“It’s a lot of fun working with students. And I can also make an important contribution to research and science in Germany,” explains Emmanouil Liodakis with a smile on his face. Only a few years ago, the Greek doctor was a medical student himself, and now he teaches what he knows to prospective doctors at the Hannover Medical School – a career that Emmanouil largely owes to his university education in Germany.

Emmanouil at a lecture © privat
Emmanouil at a lecture . © privat

Optimal perspectives in Germany

Emmanouil studied Medicine at the University of Marburg for two years and then returned to Greece to finish his education. Since 2007, he has worked in Hannover as a specialist in emergency surgery and orthopaedics. When every second counts, Emmanouil is called in to care for patients in the emergency room or is flown to the accident site by helicopter. In addition to his daily duties at the hospital, he and his colleagues also work as guest lecturers for young medical students. The main reason Emmanouil decided to leave sunny Greece to work in cold Germany was the good and systematic organisation of medical education. And there is another reason, he adds. “I would advise everyone to spend some time abroad, even if it’s only for a short time. It’s definitely a valuable personal experience.”

This opinion is something his friend Antonis Nicolaides from Cyprus whole-heartedly agrees with. He completed his entire medical education in Germany and succeeded in starting his career here. As an assistant physician for anaesthetics and intensive care, Antonis spends much of his time in the operating room and is responsible for administering the necessary anaesthesia. Before the operation, he meets with the patient to describe the procedure and explain exactly what will happen. Palliative care is also one of his tasks as an anaesthesiologist. It was very important to him to speak good German. “Before I began my studies, I took a one-year intensive language course. But even so, every new seminar brought new language challenges,” he says.

Antonis in the OR © Privat
Antonis in the OR . © Privat

German – The basis of success

For both doctors, learning German was the largest hurdle during their studies. Antonis spent evenings looking up many words which German medical students were familiar with, like “die Zelle” (the cell). After a year, he didn’t have any problems anymore. In fact, since many terms have a Greek etymology, he was able to help his fellow students with terminology. Nonetheless, Antonis and Emmanouil agree that German is one of the most important requirements for achieving success at university and in working life – especially in their profession. “Being around colleagues and patients enabled me to perfect my language skills,” says Emmanouil who had attended a German school in Greece.

In order to come in contact with other students, Antonis recommends taking the first step and striking up conversation. “In the beginning, most of my good friends were foreign students. The contact with Germans came later on,” Antonis recalls. It was an experience he shares with many, because it’s a little easier being foreign when you’re together with other foreigners. Many of Antonis’s university friends, who also came to Germany to study medicine, are now living and working in Germany like himself.

Doctors have the best chances

Antonis sent an unsolicited application for a job as an anaesthesiologist in Hannover. This means that he sent an application although no position was advertised. He was offered a job on the spot because many German hospitals urgently need well-educated doctors. And Antonis is convinced that a good education is guaranteed if you study at a German university. “I would advise anyone to study Medicine in Germany. No other country offers so many opportunities in this field.” The best example of this is Emmanouil and Antonis.

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