I’ve always been interested in travel, so when the opportunity to undertake a placement overseas arose, it seemed like a great idea. I had never travelled to South America before so it was always on the top of my list. It wasn’t until I heard about Work the World that it fast became a reality. After some initial contact with the organisation’s Australian office, I secured a summer placement.
Even learning the language was something Work the World had thought about. I only had very basic Spanish prior to leaving Australia, so when I saw Work the World offered their Intensive Spanish Course to improve my language skills, I knew it was something I needed to do. Over the course of that first week in Peru, the language teacher helped us learn as much as we could, which was great. Since the Spanish course was specifically designed to help us on our placement, everything was relevant and useful.
I gained a lot during my two weeks based in the local hospital. One highlight would have to be the work we did with a young boy who had developmental delay. Watching the physiotherapist treat him without all the toys and games we have available in Australia was really fascinating to see and experience first-hand.
“I CHOSE WORK THE WORLD BECAUSE THEY SPECIALISE IN GLOBAL HEALTH PLACEMENTS. THEY UNDERSTAND WHAT IS REQUIRED SO THAT YOU CAN GET THE MOST OF OUT YOUR EXPERIENCE.”
The other highlight was, of course, travelling throughout South America after my placement finished up. Machu Picchu was amazing – as I expected it to be – as was Colca Canyon found just outside of Arequipa in Peru. Moving onto Argentina, the glaciers were also a highlight and I can honestly admit that I had never seen anything like them before! Bonito in Brazil is also beautiful and has a lot of really cool activities, which made for lots of fun. What I learned was that every place in South America is different, but amazing in their own unique way.
My advice for fellow physiotherapy students would be to just get involved! Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge with your colleagues. You’ll likely find they can be just as interested in learning as you are.