I wanted to do placement work overseas and I really wanted to experience life in the rural areas. Work the World offered all of the above, plus it would add to my medical knowledge, so it seemed like a perfect fit for me.
ASSISTANCE BEFORE THE TRIP
I applied super late, like just 3 or 2 months before my placement, and I had finals at the time, so I was very busy and distracted. But the information pack on the 'MyTrip' website was excellent - it covered everything so I didn’t need to send WTW emails to ask questions. The staff members that called me and sent me emails were so sweet and nice, they made sure I understood everything and they were always willing to answer any questions I had. They were also very flexible with timings, letting me choose my most convenient hour for them to call me.
ARRIVAL AND ORIENTATION
One of the WTW staff picked me up from the airport. He was wearing WTW T-shirt, so he was easy to spot. As soon as I reached the house, the Assistant Program Manager gave us an orientation, and answered all our questions.
WTW HOUSE AND STAFF
The house is awesome, I love everything about it. The first few days I kept getting lost going back to my room... but it was fine after that! I loved the fact that there was no AC and just fans, it made it so much easier to adapt to the hospital. We came all the way to the Philippines, might as well live like most locals, without AC and just fans. Everything was so clean, tidy and functional, thanks to the WTW housekeeper and team.
The food at the house was excellent and invariably I gained so much weight here! The staff were very friendly and sweet, anything we ask for, they provide for us. They made sure we were always comfortable and satisfied. I felt at home here.
My hospital placement was great. I shadowed one doctor for two weeks, then another for the next two weeks. I found this invaluable as I was able to benefit from more than one perspective and teaching style. Four of the nurses took care of me, and made sure that I got the chance to insert cannulas, extract blood, insert catheters and NGTs. I was so happy as I gained much experience from this.
I learnt a lot about their system and how they function here, leading me to understand why we had such well trained immigrant Filipino nurses back home.
I learnt a lot, seeing cases I wouldn’t have see back home. I learnt how to admit patients, take full history and physical examination, list differential diagnoses, and set a plan and workup.
VILLAGE HEALTHCARE EXPERIENCE
The Village Healthcare Experience was just so amazing! It was definitely the best part of my trip. The host family is just so kind and cute! They made me feel at home and provided everything for me. Papa drove me around everywhere and at anytime. Mama was so sweet, always cracking jokes, complementing me and asking about my day. They really acted like my parents, Papa bought me ice cream on my first day and Mama got so worried when I went zip lining. The two girls in the family acted like my sisters as we used to laugh and joke all the time. They also taught me a lot about their culture and tribe. They were interested in knowing about my culture as well, and about my life. The family appreciated it so much that I knew a bit of Hiligaynon and Tagalog. They even taught me more Hiligaynon, which I used with the people at the village.
The house was great and I loved how simple and cozy it was. I didn’t find any difficulties in adapting and I felt comfortable.
The host family is just so kind... They made me feel at home and provided everything for me.
I asked them to make me typical Filipino food. So I had dried fish, lizard, snails, duck and stingray. I also had pancit and bihon. They made me mango float because they know it’s my favourite dessert. The afternoon activities were so much fun. We attended a local basketball match, walked around the village, visited a church, went fishing, island hopping, zip-lining, gave a lecture to the kids in the village, had a bonfire at the village, and did some weaving. People at the village were so sweet and friendly and I made good friends with some of the girls there. They had plenty of questions for me, and really appreciated me trying to speak their language.
The bonfire celebration was amazing. Mama, Sherilyn and two of the girls from the village gave speeches; it was so emotional and sweet. I felt so touched, I ended up crying. I gave a speech as well and then we all danced nonstop! It was so much fun.
On my last day I was able to go fishing with the youngest member of the family, the youngest brother. His sisters told me that he's usually shy around WTW students, so I felt so special that he agreed to take me fishing. The placement on the village was great and all the staff were friendly. We visited two clinics and one hospital. The hospital was busy and I was able to assist the doctor in taking history and inserting catheters.
We went to Manila, which I didn’t like as much as I liked Iloilo, but I had great company so it was fun. I went to Olongapo to Ocean Adventures to swim with sea lions. We also went to Boracay which was so much fun - the beach and the bars, and the activities.During my stay in the Philippines, I visited Legazpi and Donsol and went hiking up the volcano, Mount Mayon. We spent the night up there, then hiked down the next day. We went swimming in Donsol, then firefly watching, it was just so magical.
ADVICE FOR FUTURE STUDENTS
My advice to all students would be put yourselves out there and do as much as you can; be pro-active and build relationships with the staff so that they trust you and get you involved; always offer to help with anything and everything, even if it’s just paperwork; never judge, always keep an open mind and be understanding and respectful of how they do things in the Philippines.
With that in mind, you can look forward to an amazing experience that won’t easily be forgotten.