I chose to travel to Arequipa for my midwifery elective. It was tricky to pick where to go as there were so many fantastic options provided by Work the World. But, Peru was somewhere that I had always wanted to visit and hadn’t had the opportunity to.
Arequipa was a beautiful city boasting two hospitals. In both, I was able to observe and learn all about the differences and similarities between midwifery in the UK and Peru.
I undertook Work the World’s recommended Intensive Spanish Course before my placement started. The week was intense, but by the end I was able to understand most things that were said in the clinics, and I could even talk to the staff and the patients at the hospital. I had learnt some Spanish at school, however I would highly recommend the Spanish course as it also helped with getting around the city and booking excursions.
The staff at the Work the World house were amazing. They were so helpful, and showed us where to find everything we needed within the city. They also took us to our placement hospitals for a tour and to introduce us to our department staff. The food cooked by the house catering team was incredible too.
I was placed in a small community clinic a short bus ride from the Work the World house. I spent time on the delivery suite and in the postnatal clinic.
All the midwives and doctors were extremely kind and friendly, and talked me through all the care they gave to the patients.
Husbands and partners weren’t allowed into the unit, which was so different when compared with the UK.
The biggest difference I noticed was in the delivery rooms, which were shared between all expectant mothers. Husbands and partners weren’t allowed into the unit, which was so different when compared with the UK. The postnatal clinic was busy, but the doctors took the time to show me the interesting cases and taught me about equipment and how it was used.
My second placement was in the main hospital, which was walking distance from the Work the World house. Prior to my arrival, I had asked Work the World if I could observe a surgery. As a result, I saw a caesarean section while in Arequipa. To my surprise it was much the same as in the UK; the equipment was the same, and the resuscitaire actually had more functions than the ones I had seen in England.
I was in Arequipa for four weeks, and there was so much to see and do. My housemates and I went on amazing trips at the weekends including hiking up to Machu Picchu, visiting the beautiful sand dunes of Huacachina, hiking through Colca Canyon, visiting a nature reserve and exploring the colourful city of Cusco.
We spent many of our afternoons in and around Arequipa. We had salsa dancing lessons at the Work the World house, went whitewater rafting, ziplining across a valley, visited the mummified remains of Juanita, ate ice-cream, learned how to make chocolate, and found plenty of alpacas to take pictures of.
I had the most incredible time on my trip and made friends for life. I can’t recommend Arequipa, and Work the World, highly enough. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and totally worth it!