I chose to organise my clinical elective through Work the World after hearing very positive feedback from friends who had travelled with them in previous years. As a solo traveller it also provided my family and I with the reassurance that my placement would be safe, relevant and well organised, whilst providing me with the opportunity to meet similarly minded people from around the globe.
The pre-departure support was really useful, particularly the packing lists and language guides. These helped me to feel prepared for travelling to a completely unfamiliar location and definitely helped reduce the worry of my upcoming trip.
Once I arrived in Iloilo, myself and the other students received a welcome briefing. This was such a good day and gave me a great opportunity to get to know the other new arrivals as well as ensuring that we all felt orientated in both the hospital and the city.
It is also a wonderful opportunity to try all the unusual modes of Filipino transport, which you will learn to love! Attending the flag raising ceremony at the hospital was great; the hospital staff made a huge effort to make us feel welcome. It was so grand compared to the usual welcome you receive on your first day of placement back in the UK!
The support you receive in-house and at the hospital is second to none. The house staff are constantly asking how your day has been and are really keen to know what you have done and learned. My main piece of advice is to be honest, don’t just stick to the areas that you selected pre-departure if you are not enjoying them. The staff will not be offended - instead they will do their utmost to arrange for you to experience different areas. All you need to do is ask!
The support you receive in-house and at the hospital is second to none. The house staff are constantly asking how your day has been and are really keen to know what you have done and learned.
I spent some of my time in the Emergency Department (ED). This provided such a good opportunity to gain experience and skills in an environment that I had not previously worked in. Although the environment is quite different to what I am used to back in the UK, most of the basic principles remained the same so it was quite easy to fit in. During my time in the ED I was involved in numerous resuscitation attempts - something that I had not had opportunity to do in the UK. I know that the resuscitation experience that I gained in Iloilo will be useful back home and it really helped improve my confidence in dealing with intense situations.
One of the major perks of living in a house with other healthcare students from around the world is that the learning did not stop once you left the hospital. Coming back to the house and discussing the cases that you had seen that day was so useful; it offered a great chance to ask students from other disciplines in other parts of the world questions and compare how care priorities varied between our respective countries. It also offered a great opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the different roles within the healthcare team.
That is not to say that the time spent in the house was all work. Everyone was so friendly and there was always some form of entertainment going on in the evenings. At the weekends there’s plenty opportunity to travel, and we journeyed to Antique, Boracay and Cebu. All three weekends were quite different, but offered a chance to see how beautiful the Philippines really are. I would highly recommend visiting all of these places.
My advice to future travelers would be to make the most of every moment and seize every opportunity to travel. I would highly recommend travelling solo, as it really forces you to make new friends and experience things that you never would have thought of. If you are able to, try and schedule your flights to allow some time for further travel around The Philippines once your placement is over. There really is so much to see and do; four weeks was not nearly long enough!