Intensive Spanish Course
Before arriving in Merida I had used Duolingo for a few weeks to try and grasp the language. However, due to uni commitments I didn’t really take much in. I was worried at first but knew that I had the Work the World Intensive Spanish Course before my placement began.
I arrived in Merida on a Sunday and then started the Spanish course the following day. I was taken to the school where my language lessons would take place and introduced to the team that ran the school.
I was then introduced to the teachers where they did a quick test with me to see what level my Spanish was at. I knew that I was a beginner. However, in the space of a week I was able to ask questions, have short conversations and understand some of what others were asking me.
I wouldn’t have got the most from my placement without some knowledge of Spanish.
Although I was not fluent, the course was invaluable. I wouldn’t have got the most from my placement without some knowledge of Spanish. I did my placement in the accident and emergency department and I was able to ask questions about patients and ask for help and explanations of some emergency cases.
The language school was beautiful - it had a pool and the food was to die for. Everyone was friendly and made it a great experience. I was lucky enough to have a 1-1 lesson in the morning and again in the afternoon. My morning teacher was lovely and kind and helped as much as possible whilst being comical and enjoying a giggle which made it more relaxing. My afternoon teacher was also funny and helped with my medical Spanish. If it wasn’t for these two people I would not have been able to tell the staff in my placement hospital that a patient was struggling to breathe and offer my assistance in a peri arrest.
I truly believe that if you are worried about the language barrier in Mexico, do the Intensive Spanish Course for a week. It will help you whilst travelling and with the placement itself - it was money well spent. It was intense but enjoyable.
In one simple sentence, this international placement was an experience of a lifetime. Work the World really help you settle in, from picking you up from the airport to day to day living, no task was ever too big for the Merida team.
The first week we did an orientation day that took us around Merida and it was very lovely and peaceful. The food at the house was always top notch and I had no complaints. Every Thursday was BBQ night. One week we had an American BBQ then the next we had tacos and even a mariachi band.
Merida is very close to quite a lot of places like Chichen Itza, Los Coloradas (pink lake), Cancun for Coco Bongos of course and some islands like Isla Mujeres and Holbox. Merida is the perfect location for anyone that likes a city break, party, beach or even swimming with whale sharks. There was not one weekend or day where there wasn’t anything to do. I either travelled by ADO buses or hired a car and drove.
The house was huge and beautiful, and the pool was certainly a great feature to relax in or gather around with your housemates. Everyone got along and everyone helped each other out. You’ll quickly find you click with your housemates and you’ll travel with them on the weekends. They will become friends for life after a few short days. I came here alone and met so many people in a short space of time, all of which I have kept in contact with.
Travelling alone was okay and Merida felt very safe.
Don’t expect the food to look or taste like back home as what we see as Mexican food by Old el Paso or Chiquito’s is nothing compared to the food in Mexico. It was amazing, so try everything. As for the weather, every other day we had a thunderstorm for 30 minutes with torrential rain and then it stopped and nothing else for the remaining time. It remained a good 38C most days so plenty of sun cream is needed.
As for the placement itself, it was amazing. I did two weeks in A&E, I was placed in first contact and then in wounds and dressings. I truly appreciate what we have in the UK after being in Mexico.
every member of staff had a smile on their face and helped however they could.
I walked into the hospital and the corridors were full of people, the smell was not the most inviting and equipment was little and bare. However, every member of staff had a smile on their face and helped however they could. I am training to become an adult nurse and I used all of my skills from helping to draw up drugs to assisting with CPR.
During these two weeks I saw a lot of intubations for difficulties in breathing as it was their routine to do this, it was interesting as I hadn’t seen it back home. I saw a lot of cases of bandages being reused. This was all normal to them, I spoke to the Mexican students a little about sepsis as this is very common, but they didn’t treat it like we do back in the UK.
Overall, it was an amazing experience that I learnt loads from. After my two weeks in A&E, I did one week in paediatrics which is not my specialty. However, the nurse and doctor were amazing and made me feel right at home by explaining everything to me and actively getting me to participate in drug rounds, ward rounds and asking me about the conditions of some of the children and what I would do to treat them. This experience was invaluable.
Four weeks of constant learning, travelling and placement was really full on, however I wouldn’t change it for the world and would highly recommend this placement.