This month sees the return of the weekly question that we pose to our students overseas. It’s always fantastic to get some advice and feedback from people in-country and we understand that travelling to the other side of the world, particularly to a developing country can be quite a culture shock. This week we decided to ask “How can we better prepare you for this?”
As usual, Freddy in Arusha came back to us first.
Emily, a medic from Nottingham said that “there was good communication throughout organising the elective and I felt well prepare by the staff at Work the World...”
“Culture is something that individually you need to prepare for in your own way. The comments and discussions by previous students on the website helped, as well as my own research on Arusha as a whole rather than the culture.” Advised Nicola, a nurse from UCLAN.
Helen, our Manchester medic told us that she didn’t feel that much culture shock! “The staff in Arusha are so friendly, and there are students here that have been here for a while which helps.”
Next came Barney, our Programme Manager in Lake Victoria
Ciaran from Aberdeen said “To be honest I don't think you can ever really prepare people far a cultural shock, and sometimes it can make people form premature opinions before they come. The only piece of advice I would have liked to know before I came was maybe how much to tip in restaurants and how acceptable it is to barter over prices? The case studies online give you a really good idea of what the hospital will be like which helps ease you into the difference in practice you encounter in Mwanza.”
Alpha in Dar Es Salaam sat down with his students and came back with the following;
“Picking us up from the airport, Swahili lessons and help with organising trips are all very helpful. The first day of orientation is also good, introducing us to African food and Hospital staff. All staff at the house are all so friendly and helpful!” Said Grant; another Aberdeen medic.
Mae from Nottingham told us that “All the staff at the house do a great job of minimising the culture shock. The only place I feel is very obvious is the hospital but I think most people arrive knowing that the hospitals here will be hugely different! Rob does a good job on the phone before we arrive and other students already at the house are very happy to share experiences.”
With only a few students in Nepal, Sunil told us;
“No matter how prepared one is there's always some sense of shock to see things done in a different way or how things don’t happen the way you've always seen; be it the hospital or out in town. On top of what you are told you should always try to do your own research too.”
Nat in Argentina had a chat with her students and Jasmine from Sweden suggested "try and learn some useful phrases in Spanish as soon as you book your placement. That way you can be better prepared from the very first moment you arrive in the country."
Next we will be asking the students about their favourite country fact. Check out their answers next week!