Have you been thinking about doing your elective with Work the World in Asia, but can’t quite decide whether to chose Nepal or Sri Lanka? I completely understand your dilemma - both countries offer so much, but are so different from each other. It's difficult to imagine what to expect or what to base your decision on.
To help you with your choice, I wanted to give you a little overview of the hospitals, the houses and what makes these destinations particularly special!
In Nepal we are based in Pokhara and we’ve partnered with a couple of large hospitals from both public and private sectors. The government hospital generally offers an excellent insight into basic healthcare provision for Nepal’s working class population. It's a good option for students with an interest in primary healthcare and general fields of medicine and nursing and has proved particularly positive for general surgery, emergency and obstetrics and gynaecology.
Placements in Nepal also cover more specialised fields such as cardiology, ophthalmology and critical care, but they tend to be at the large private teaching hospital. This provides tertiary level care to the western region of Nepal and has the only neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the area. Depending on your clinical interest, we can help you decide which option is likely to suit you best and discuss the details once your trip is confirmed.
In Sri Lanka, the majority of Work the World students spend their time in one of the major government referral hospital in the hill country capital of Kandy. This government hospital serves a cross-section of the general population and offers the widest range of clinical cases. In fact it is the biggest hospital we work with, - 2000 beds (around 90 wards) - so the opportunities for learning are endless. It offers a wide range of relatively busy departments all under one roof, including general medicine, emergency treatment unit, paediatrics, obstetrics & gynaecology, general surgery, orthopaedics, cardiology, renal transplant unit, neurology and oncology. If your clinical interests include other fields, please contact us to check availability.
Work the World have created a week-long Add On experience for every destination. They are designed to complement your placement and give you a better idea of the countries healthcare practices. In Nepal we offer a Village Healthcare Experience that takes you up to the mountains to live with a family in a rural community. The experience is designed so that you can learn about the struggle to provide healthcare in remote parts of the country . During the mornings you will work in a local health post treating a wide range of illnesses. Afternoons are then spent with your local guide taking part in activities and getting involved in village life.
In Sri Lanka, we have chosen to focus on the strong belief in Ayurvedic Medicine- sometimes the preferred method of medicine. We have developed a placement with a highly regarded Ayurvedic doctor who runs an orthopaedic hospital. You will be able to join him on rounds and learn more about the methods of treatment, as well the reasons behind the patients journey to visit him. As with the village experience, afternoons are spent enjoying local activities with your guide.
Free time and weekend activities!
Another big deciding factor is the weekend activities! The great thing about living in a house with other healthcare students is that you will never be short of friends and organising a trip together as a group often means you can share costs and fun! Nepal and Sri Lanka both look small on the map – but there’s so much to do and places to see! Nepal is certainly great for hiking and being based in Pokhara, you will have the Annapurna mountain range on your doorstep. It’s also easy to organise safari in the Chitwan National Park and a shopping trip to Kathmandu on your way home is a must. Sri Lanka is just as diverse, with so many beautiful beaches along the South coast, safari in Yala National Park and the cultural triangle to the North, with so many hidden temples and caves.
Making your decision
It’s important to remember that the planning and researching of your trip is often just as enjoyable as getting to the destination! My advice would be to read as many case studies as possible, flick through photographs on our website and watch some footage on our YouTube channel – all of which are there to help you make the right decision.