University of Melbourne 2015

Medical, The Philippines Iloilo

Over the summer of 2014/15 I travelled to the city of Iloilo in the Philippines to undertake a four-week elective. Located on the southern shores of Panay Island, Iloilo City was the perfect destination to be based in. It’s large enough to offer all the comforts of a city but also small enough to encounter new experiences.

I spent my elective working in a busy hospital, sharing my time between the Emergency and Obstetrics departments. While the medicine is slightly different in the Philippines and not all that relevant back home, the patient interaction I experienced was invaluable. 

The hospital was usually short staffed and always really busy. Despite this, the medical team really integrate you into their system and if at any time there is a procedure, you’ll be the first one they call. It’s a refreshing change from feeling like you’re just taking up space on a ward."

I became very comfortable with things like suturing and putting in tubes, in all sorts of places. If you’re more surgically inclined, the surgeons are very encouraging of participation. 

You really do get out of your elective what you put into it. The more enthusiastic you are, the more you’ll learn. Planning my elective with Work the World (WTW) was also a great way to organise my overseas elective. It was a perfect fit for me and what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. Having access to local staff in Iloilo City was a bonus. I was greeted at the airport by the local team and transferred back to the WTW house. Large and spacious, the WTW house proved to be a home away from home for myself and other healthcare students from all over the world. The local team were really supportive and helped everyone integrate into the way of life over there effortlessly.

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