I had free period during my medicine study so I wanted to go abroad and combine this with my study. A friend told me she was going abroad with WTW, so I did some research on the WTW website.
Since this was the first time I would go abroad on my own I was drawn to WTW because everything is arranged so well; both the placement and the accommodation.
Before I left for Kathmandu I got two phone calls from the English staff to give me some information about my first few days and my placement. This got me even more excited to go to Nepal. I still had no idea what to expect about the country and how the placement would be but it was nice to have some information.
I arrived Sunday at 9 am. Krishna, our cook, collected me from the airport. I was happy that he was wearing the WTW t-shirt because all the taxi-drivers were quite overwhelming. Especially in the early morning after a journey without sleep.
The next day Sean, the program manager, took Sinthu, the other housemate, and me into the city for the orientation. It was really nice to have an idea where to go if I wanted to go into the city on my own or with some friends.
The house is great! I rather call it a villa. Especially the rooftop terrace was my favorite place in the house. I liked it that the house was in a suburb and not for instance in Thamel. You could easily go into the city but if you needed some rest, you could retreat on one of the terraces of the house. The staff was very nice. Krishna and Lakshmi made a great breakfast and Nepali dinner for us every day. Manita worked very hard everyday to clean our house and our beds were made every day. I felt a sort of spoiled by the staff, and was actually worrying how I had to do all this on my own again when I would go home.
Sean our prograMME manager worked very hard to arrange everything for us for the placement. He also knew all the nice places to go in the city and took us out to Thamel sometimes.
My placement was general surgery in the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, just a 20 minute walk or 5 minute taxi drive from the house. The first 4 weeks I was in the gastro intestinal unit and the last two weeks in the urology and plastic surgery unit. They involved me very well with everything and they let me scrub in many times. I also had to look things up for homework and I had to give a bedside presentation. Because of this I learned a lot. You see many different cases compared to the Western countries; more infectious diseases but also more progressed diseases. People only go to the doctor when things are really bad, leading to more extreme cases.
I saw very interesting cases; my presentation was about a boy with abdominal TB, I saw a renal transplant and in plastic surgery I saw a man whose face had to be reconstructed after a bear attack.
In the weekends we had time to go and discover Nepal. For instance I went to Chitwan national park with Sinthu. Here we had an elephant safari and elephant bathing which was awesome! During Diwali I went with two other housemates to Pokhara. We had a great time here, doing a one-day hike, paragliding, rowing on the lake and site seeing. We also visited Bakthapur, during a one-day trip, a beautiful city, must see! For a relaxing weekend we went to a yoga retreat.
Sometimes when we were done early in the hospital we could go sight seeing in Kathmandu, there is so much to do and to see in the city!
After my placement I went trekking with my brother, this was also a great experience and a nice way to end my time in Nepal.
Advice for future students
- Go to Kathmandu! It is such a great city with so many different things going on;
- For your placement, I would choose more than one department. Try to see as much as possible of the Nepali healthcare and all the different cases;
- Take things as they are and don’t feel the urge to change anything or think that you know better. Go with the flow, be assertive and they will involve you more.