I did my placement in Iloilo with WTW for 4 weeks as part of my medical school elective block. I looked at Work the World initially because it was recommended to me by a friend as a reliable company. I ended up choosing WTW after researching because I found that not only were they very organised as a whole, but also provide in-country contacts, a house to stay at, and food, as well as liaising with the hospital all included in the package.
Before the trip I was given a clear idea of what to expect when I arrived, who I was meeting and what the house would be like. This made it so much more relaxing when planning my trip there, and everything went exactly as planned; I was met at the airport, taken back to the house for a meal and introduced to everyone there.
The house is very large, so although it’s full of people you never feel cramped. But there are still so many social areas so you never feel lonely either. Also the top of the house has an excellent rooftop view of the Iloilo river and a nearby church. Beds are really comfortable here and the food was amazing (you’ll never go hungry here, and to really enjoy it, leave the diet at home!).
Furthermore I was given clear details about what to expect from the hospital in terms of the clinical environment and the cultural differences. I was very glad to have this as it made settling in easier, although it was a big change from home. I think the key thing I learnt was to keep an open mind about what was going on, and to ask if I had any questions. I didn’t come across a single person in the hospital who wasn’t friendly and happy to help me.
The city of Iloilo itself is really interesting place, with a mixture of big brick houses and smaller wooden houses, large compounds with many residences and single houses with lots of land. It’s also special in that you’ll be in the typical city environment one moment, but the mango trees, forests, and beaches are only a short ride away.
Wherever you go you’ll always find a smile and a “good morning!” sang to you.
Everyone is friendly and I always felt very safe here (it’s not called the city of love for nothing!), but it’s still wise to be smart and remember you’re in a city, in a foreign country so you should take proper precautions – travel with others, avoid unlit areas at night, take care with your belongings.
Outside of Iloilo is nothing but beauty and adventure. Definitely go on the weekend trips; not only are they a great way to bond with the other housemates but you will have the experience of a lifetime (or at the very least a collection of beautiful pictures to make your friends jealous). Trips are really easy to organise by talking to the staff in the house and are definitely worth the money you pay and more.