I chose Work the World for my elective as I liked the fact that you had a base and the support on site in your country of choice. The reviews were fantastic and the website was clear and easy to navigate. Pre-departure support was great and MyTrip was so useful to keep track of what was due, whether it be flight information or payments. The online information pack covered all questions that needed to be answered and if necessary, the team at Head Office were always so quick to respond to questions in emails or directly on the phone.
Airport pick up went smoothly and I was met by one of the Work the World reps in arrivals. I was taken to a nearby airport hotel where some other students were waiting and we all left for Kandy bright and early the next morning after a good nights sleep. The welcome briefing from Nandika and orientation on Monday was great to get to know the main interest points in Kandy and to learn a bit more about the hospital. Nandika was very helpful in answering any questions and planning weekend trips. Everyone in the house was so lovely and welcoming and there was always someone to chat to which made you feel right at home. The food was amazing also.. Every evening there was something different and delicious on offer! And the weekly BBQ was a definite highlight!
Arriving at the hospital for the first day of placement was a huge culture shock. There were people and queues everywhere and the wards have limited facilities. I was doing General Surgery for my placement and had the opportunity to go on the ward rounds, visit Endoscopy, Casualty Theatre and the clinic. My Consultant was a fantastic teacher and I learnt so much observing his approach to diagnostics in the clinic. What shocked me most was how late people would present with very serious illnesses and injuries and then perhaps be too late for curative treatment. The Casualty Theatre was so interesting to attend; three operations might be going on at the same time in one theatre ranging from wound debridement to appendectomy. I learnt so much in my time at the hospital and would recommend the experience to anyone.
The chance to travel at the weekends is a huge bonus to doing an elective in a country like Sri Lanka. A group of 11 of us headed off in a taxi to Trincomalee one morning. We went via The World Heritage Site of Sigiriya and climbed the rock with a tour guide. It was a breathtaking experience and one I would highly recommend to anyone coming to Sri Lanka. We went dolphin watching and snorkelling in Trincomalee and enjoyed the calm of the beach after a busy week of placement. On the way back to Kandy we stopped at Habarana and had the chance to do an Elephant Safari which was incredible!
Overall I have loved my time in Kandy and cannot believe that it has come to an end already. I would recommend the elective in Sri Lanka to any student in any speciality. I have made so many friends from different parts of the world and got to experience what healthcare is like in a totally different setting to what I am used to whilst having the chance to travel and see the beauty of Sri Lanka during my free time. It was a fantastic experience and I will miss everyone so much. I will definitely be back to Sri Lanka at some point in the future!