This summer I spent 3 months in Dar es Salaam in Tazania on a physiotherapy placement and had the time of my life!
My first impression of the hospital was it was very different looking compared to UK hospitals, there are a lot more patients and less space to work with, especially in my field of physiotherapy, the department was very small, but they actually had quite a bit of equipment to work with which was good to see.
I found the physiotherapists were very knowledgeable, if anything, more knowledgeable than us. Due to the lack of space I had to be tactful in my approach to physio I would normally use for a patient.
During my time there, I saw many low back pain patients, but I also saw patients with broken femurs, knee replacements, make surgeries and many more. My most memorable case, a patient with a broken leg, so they obviously needed extensive and intense physiotherapy. I managed to follow this patient through majority of their rehab, which was really good for building rapport. I set this patient a task, and myself, to get them walking before I returned back to the UK, and between both our determination and motivation, we achieved this outcome. This made me so proud to be a physiotherapist and showed me why I love my job so much.
After spending 3 months in one department, I became part of the family and team and I have made some life-long friends. They even gave me a branded t-shirt so I wouldn’t forget them, but I could never forget an experience like this.
Outside of placement there were so many things to do. I went to Zanzibar a couple of weekends, and did lots of activities, including a skydive over Kendwa Rocks, which was an absolutely amazing experience alone.
Every Wednesday, we went to a bar called Samaki Samaki for karaoke which was a great night. Every week the atmosphere there was amazing.
Going out meant I met a lot of different people and made many friends over my time there. There are also many bars and clubs in Dar es Salaam so there was always a new place to try and go to. There are many restaurants as well, so at least once a week, we would go to a restaurant and try local cuisine.
There are smaller islands to visit closer than Zanzibar, so I visited them on a weekend too and had a relaxing day on the beach.
We have a tradition, that on your last day of placement you jump in the pool in scrubs, which ends your time on a real high.
We also decided to go and watch a couple of live football matches which was also an amazing experience, someone who worked at the house came along with us to ensure our safety, which was very reassuring. I also found internet fame from this, as I got interviewed at both football matches I attended.
If you go to Tanzania a safari is a definite! the guide is so lovely and the experience is sensational, we saw so many incredible animals.
Swahili lessons at the Work the World house were always fun, we had a great teacher, and we would always be laughing because we couldn’t pronounce something or would mispronounce a word, and it have a totally different meaning.
For anyone thinking about undertaking an overseas placement I would say whether you go alone or with friends, go for it!
You only have live once and an experience like this does not happen everyday. You will never regret going, and you will make so many friends and meet many people. You will truly have a once in a lifetime opportunity.