I carried out my elective placement in Kandy, Sri Lanka and I lived there for a month. We attended placement on weekdays and at the weekends we travelled around Sri Lanka and went sight-seeing.
I lived in the Work the World house, which was run by lovely local staff who couldn’t do enough for us. I shared the house with other students carrying out placements just like me, and we all became amazing friends.
I chose to carry out my placement in Sri Lanka as I was interested to see if there were any cultural differences within healthcare.
During the four weeks I spent in the local hospital, I experienced three different departments, and spent a week in the village where Ayurvedic medicine is practiced.
The different departments I experienced included general surgery, paediatric surgery and gynaecology. My elective placement was mainly observational as I wanted to see as many departments as possible.
The hospital in Kandy was busy compared to England, so it was different to what I am used to. There were obvious differences due to funding, but basic patient care remained the same. I saw life brought into the world via both C-section and natural birth — it was miraculous. I also participated in drug rounds and looked through patient paperwork to see differences.
I exchanged pleasantries with the patients using what I'd learnt in our weekly language lessons. All staff spoke English and the paperwork was also in English — I never felt lost.
I also added on a Village Healthcare Experience to my trip. During my week in the village I saw how Ayurvedic medicine was practised. It mostly consisted of treatments made from tree bark and pastes. When people did not have enough money to pay for their treatment, they donated leaves to be used for other patients. Common diagnoses included osteoporosis, frozen shoulder and slipped disc. Whilst in the village we were also taken on trips in the afternoons. We went for a massage, an ox and cart ride, a boat ride along the river, a cooking lesson and a trip to Pidurangala rock to climb.
At the weekends, my housemates and I travelled around Sri Lanka together. We got to see some amazing sights. My adventures included climbing Adam’s Peak and swimming with turtles and sharks.
My time in Sri Lanka, both on placement and whilst travelling, was amazing and I wouldn’t change a second of it. I made incredible memories, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with amazing people. I would definitely recommend carrying out a placement in Sri Lanka with Work the World.