I decided to take my elective placement in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. After attending a session led by Work the World at my university, which included a presentation by an MMU student who had recently travelled to Dar es Salaam for her elective, I decided to further research into going on my elective with Work the World.
With the inspiration and motivation that I got from the student’s presentation, the vast amount of positive feedback and reviews by people who had travelled with Work the World and my research into Tanzania’s healthcare, I booked my two-week elective placement.
This was the first ever trip I’d taken abroad on my own and I was terrified. However, the calls, information, advice and help I received from the staff at Work the World really put me at ease.
I decided on having my placement on a children’s ward. It was everything I imagined it to be, from the Work the World house, the hospital and the beauty of Dar es Salaam.
After my first week on the children’s ward I was then placed on the labour ward as my second week of placement.
This was an eye-opening experience and really made me appreciate the NHS, the endurance of the local people was astounding and they appreciated the care they received.
The fast pace of the labour ward was overwhelming, but I very quickly became comfortable with my surroundings. The staff on the labour ward were very welcoming and ensured that I was well looked after, they taught me a lot and ensured I observed and took part in as much as I could.
I grasped the opportunity to assist a labour and this was one of the most amazing experiences I had.
To have such an opportunity, be supervised throughout and given encouragement was brilliant. A memory I will hold onto and take with me.
Activities during the week at the Work the World house were great, BBQ nights every Thursday, Swahili lessons on Monday and Tuesday and beach karaoke on Wednesday nights meant that travelling alone was not so daunting as you quickly made friends that you’d explore Dar es Salaam with.
The staff at the house have information on where you can go out and enjoy the rest of your day after placement and a handy book at the house meant we were able to read other students reviews and advice.
With the one and only weekend I had, I decided to take full advantage of it, I travelled to Zanzibar with my new-found friends, and spent the weekend eating good food, enjoying the blue safari, tanning on the beach and boat riding.
My advice to anyone travelling to Dar es Salaam for an elective placement is to ensure you speak up, the staff at the house are there to be of assistance and make your trip worthwhile. If you want to be involved during your shift on placement be confident and step into the circle instead of observing from the side-lines.
Be prepared to witness a different type of care to what you are used to and research into the cultures and traditions to prepare you a little for what is ahead of you.
The first week felt like the quickest week as we spent time familiarising ourselves around the house, hospital, public transport and sorting out SIM cards. The second week, just as you’re settling in, its time to head back to the UK. So, my advice, is to stay for more than two weeks.
This was truly one of the best experiences I’ve had, the atmosphere in the Work the World house was so welcoming! I’ve witnessed healthcare in Tanzania, I’ve island hopped in Zanzibar and I’ve made a great bunch of friends along the way.
I would love to travel with Work the World again as they took very good care of us all, were organised and made me feel safe.
I would 100% recommend Work the World to you for your elective placement.