Whenever someone asks me about my trip to Sri Lanka, I find it almost impossible to shut up about it. There is so much to tell. I learnt a lot about myself, local culture, and ways to improve my clinical practice.
I was incredibly nervous prior to meeting the Anuradhapura Work the World team. I was not at all sure what to expect. I had already been travelling in Sri Lanka for a week before my placement started, yet still had little understanding of the language, which was my biggest concern.
Accompanied by a member of the Work the World team who met me at the airport, we drove from Colombo to Anuradhapura. It was late by the time we arrived at the Work the world house, so we went to bed.
The following morning, prior to our welcome briefing and city orientation, we had breakfast with the students who were already in the house. We listened intently to their advice and about their experiences.
During my placement, I spent time in the Special Care Baby Unit, General Surgery, General Medicine, Tropical Diseases, the Labour Ward and the ED. There were times that I felt like I wasn’t even in a hospital due to the lack of facilities when compared with what I had experienced back in Australia. A number of the wards were very open, with only a waist-high wall separating them from the corridor.
There was very little privacy, and in some cases there were no sheets on the beds. The lack of infection control was also confronting at times.
Hospital staff often worked long shifts, with very few days off in-between.
Seeing the sheer mass of crowds lining up each day to get treatment, and how willing the nurses were to assist really touched me.
For my final week in Sri Lanka, I went on Work the World’s Ayurvedic Experience with two other students who were both studying medicine. It was so much fun. We spent the week learning about rural Sri Lankan culture and traditional Ayurvedic medicine. The highlight of the week was meeting a woman at the clinic who had travelled all the way from Melbourne to receive treatment from a local doctor!
Work the World had a great staff team who were all hired locally. This meant that there were plenty of good suggestions of where to travel. If you’re planning on going to Sri Lanka, or anywhere for that matter, you definitely need to take in the sights. The hiking in Sri Lanka was gorgeous, and the views took my breath away.
I would recommend Work the World to everyone. The support and dedication I received from the overseas team made me feel as though I was at home. In fact, both the team and the other students I met in Sri Lanka became like a second family to me, from the management team to the housekeeper. I miss them dearly and will never forget them.
My trip to Sri Lanka was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
I could have spent my money going on a big holiday around Europe, or buying a new car, but I wouldn’t have had a meaningful experience the way I did with Work the World.
If you love travel and want to get broader experience in your area of study, a Work the World placement is for you.