I chose to travel to Cambodia for my placement. I had never been to Southeast Asia before.
I wanted to try out somewhere completely new and different to what I was used to.
Women’s health and paediatrics were interesting to me as potential career options.
I told the Work the World team about this and they designed my placement around it. They assigned me to OBG for two weeks in one of their partner hospitals, and to a specialist paediatric hospital for another two.
At the first hospital, I saw at least one delivery a day.
Childbirth in Cambodia is quite different from the UK. There are no epidurals, and limited anaesthesia during labour.
Pretty much anyone could observe a delivery if they wanted. There were up to ten people present in the room. It got pretty warm at times.
The maternity team were fantastic. They were so welcoming.
I practised pregnancy examinations, and helped with injections, cannulations and infusions during ward and drug rounds.
But the best part of my days there were the baby baths — there were so many cute babies!
During my time at the paediatric hospital, I was in the general medicine and surgical departments.
I saw a lot of patients with dengue fever, a tropical disease I’d never come across before. It was fascinating.
I was with a team of doctors who spoke great English. They were keen to get me involved.
I took histories and examined patients with the help of some Cambodian medical students, who acted as translators.
Actually, I was humbled by how accommodating the doctors and midwives were. They really took the time to explain things and translate patient histories.
My time in the Work the World House
I loved the Work the World house. It always felt safe as we had a guard at the gate 24/7.
Getting to know the other healthcare students in the house was a real pleasure. We all came from different countries — England, Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands — and talked about how different our experiences were in Cambodia when compared to home.
We also had some memorable nights out.
It’s nice knowing I now have friends all over the world to visit!
The Work the World staff were lovely and friendly.
I particularly enjoyed the delicious food the catering team made. We tried traditional Cambodian dishes, and were even allowed to request meals to be made.
I mentioned that I was missing banana muffins one day, and the catering team made them for me at our next barbeque night (these happened weekly). It was so thoughtful.
During the weekends, we explored Phnom Penh and travelled around Cambodia. Visiting Angkor Wat was high on my bucket list, so I spent one weekend in Siem Reap.
Waking up early for a sunrise tour of the temples was so worth it. The views were breathtaking.
My elective in Cambodia really opened my eyes to how much is wasted in the NHS. We are so fortunate to have access to the resources that we do, so we need to show more appreciation for it.