Space school isn’t exactly the place a medical student will head to kick-start their career.

But for fourth-year medical student Michael Gallagher, space school was his answer.

The 26-year-old was the only one of three Canadian medical students to be selected for the aerospace medicine clerkship at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The program he took, which was offered by NASA and funded by the Canadian Space Agency, was quite the honour since it only takes a maximum of four students just twice a year.

“It felt absolutely extraordinary,” Gallagher said.

“I felt like just a school kid again — it was really hard to contain myself.”

He returned home about two weeks ago, and said what he has learned will really be an asset in his career of medicine.

Besides being part of the medical team for a shuttle’s launch and landing, he learned about the human body’s reactions and treatments while in space, which he will hope to later use in his career in medicine.

“The human body doesn’t stay in one spot or go in one place. People go in all sorts of unusual environments and the body does a lot of unusual things in those environments,” Gallagher said.

“So in terms of being part of this program, it’s very much opened my eyes to how the human body behaves.”

Gallagher is currently preparing for his residency for rural family medicine in Medicine Hat.

Although he admits the transition from space school to rural Alberta will be different, he is eager to continue his learning in yet another environment.