When my university first explained what an elective was and that I could do it abroad, I jumped at the chance.
I’d heard great things about Work the World from students who’d already travelled with them. So, I opted to let them organise my overseas experience.
Their team in the UK organised my trip without a hitch. They gave me a lot of information in the run up to the trip so I felt totally prepared.
My placement coordinator asked me detailed questions about my clinical interests. They took the information I gave them and tailored my placement around what I wanted to experience.
I ended up with two weeks in general medicine and one week in oncology.
Our new housemates went out of their way to make us feel at home from the moment we arrived.
I had a hard time picking between destinations, but eventually chose Zambia. I felt it would bring out the differences between the UK and a low-resource healthcare system.
After our plane had landed in Zambia, we saw a Work the World team member waiting to greet us. She was welcoming, which was much appreciated after a long flight.
We travelled together to the house. The house staff and our new housemates went out of their way to make us feel at home from the moment we arrived.
It was obvious from the moment we set foot in our placement hospital that the Zambian healthcare system was under-resourced.
The way healthcare professionals adapted to the challenge was remarkable.
They improvised with what they had, ensuring they gave their patients the treatments they needed.
We are so lucky to have the NHS in the UK.
It was lovely to live and breathe their culture for a week.
In our final week, my friend and I went to live in a rural village with an African family. You can add this experience to the end of your placement before you travel (just ask about it when you register).
The family welcomed us into their home with open arms, which relaxed us immediately. It was lovely to live and breathe their culture for a week.
After placement and at the weekends we explored Lusaka and further out in Zambia.
We went to an elephant sanctuary, a reptile park, explored the local markets, and had some great nights out.
We travelled to Livingstone on our second weekend. While we were there we went on Safari at Chobe National Park, visited Victoria falls, and tried out white water rafting.
Step outside your comfort zone. Just go for it. I was hesitant at first, but I’m so glad I took the plunge!
It was an incredible weekend, and the highlight of my trip.
My message to you is step outside your comfort zone. Just go for it. I was hesitant at first, but I’m so glad I took the plunge.
I gained so much from the experience, and wouldn’t have wanted to have spent my elective any other way.