University of Southampton 2016

Nursing, Ghana Takoradi

I have always wanted to go travelling, and in the summer of 2016 I went on my first ever solo trip abroad to Takoradi, Ghana for my nursing elective placement. I am currently now in my third year studying Adult Nursing at The University of Southampton.

After researching several different organisations and companies, I came across Work the World, and decided it was the best option for me.

Before starting university, I would have never predicted I’d have travelled to Africa - I have always been a shy person - but with fellow course mates thinking of taking their electives abroad, my mind was slowly changed. I decided to go on my own, feeling this would make it easier to meet new people and get to know the other people in the house.

Work the World were excellent throughout the whole pre-departure process. There’s nothing to fault; they’ve got a really good website, the team covered all the information I needed to know, and there’s an abundance of reviews from previous students who have been on the same trip.

I had lots of questions to ask, as of course I was nervous about my first time travelling, Work the World answered all my questions swiftly and with everything I needed to know. They phoned me a few times to run through things. This really put my mind at ease. The support throughout this process was great and continued when I arrived in country. The entire team was so helpful – from arrival to planning weekends or simply wanting to learn more about the Ghanaian culture.

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I spent two weeks in the regional hospital, the first week on a delivery ward which I extremely enjoyed. I saw my first ever birth – which was then followed by six more – a definite highlight! I was able to help assist with births, weighing the babies, washing them and dressing them, and of course having lots of cuddles!

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The second week I assisted on the female medical ward. This was very different to medical wards here in the UK, with very limited resources. It made me really appreciate and feel how lucky we are to have a range of dressing for treating patient’s wounds, able to access oxygen and scans freely, as well as many other things. The most rewarding part of my hospital experience included helping a patient who was having a hypo (low blood sugars). I was amazed to see the improvement she made instantly.

One night a week we took language lessons from a local teacher. Learning the language was invaluable, and really helped build relationships with local people. They love it when you’re able to say a few words in Fante, and even taught us some in return.

Life in the Work the World house was amazing - I had an awesome time. It was great fun to meet new people and get to know more about their experience of healthcare. It was a really lovely and well equipped house which had everything I needed. The house had several lounges, two kitchens one student and one staff kitchen, bedrooms which I shared with three others, a swimming pool, and an outside seating and BBQ area for the Thursday night BBQ’s. These were such a laugh; we sampled the local cuisine and even learnt some Ghanaian dance moves!

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Joe and Frank, the staff at the house, were amazing. You could talk to them about anything and they were happy to help you to organise extra travel, with a great wealth of knowledge about the area. They made the whole experience the best! The house was guarded by someone 24/7 so you always felt very safe. The house was close to a sports bar and a little shop. The main town with everything and other places was about a 15 minute taxi ride and the hospital was about a 15 minute taxi ride, along a very pot holed, dirt track road! Don’t worry about taking lots of money with you, Ghana is very cheap, for meals, drink, food, fabrics, gifts, taxi’s, hotels and many other items and trips.

The stunning coast of Ghana

The weekends were free to travel and do what you wanted to do, and one of the weekends myself and a group of girls ventured to Cape Coast. We stayed in a treehouse in the middle of the rainforest, making for a very memorable weekend which I’d definitely recommend. We got up at five one morning and went on a hike through the jungle, catching a stunning sunrise. Later that morning we took a canopy walk through the jungle, before making our way to a nearby luxury beach resort where we thoroughly enjoyed cocktails and a pool! I spent another weekend in the capital Accra, where I stayed in a beach hut with the girls. It was great to explore the city and do some shopping.

I will never forget my trip to Ghana, it was a trip of a lifetime and I’m sure I will be talking about it for many years to come. I honestly can’t recommend Work the World enough and Ghana itself, a very friendly and safe country. I met some lovely people, making memories I will never forget!

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