St George’s, University of London 2024

Medical, The Philippines Iloilo

Freya is a 6th-year medical student from St George’s, University of London. She recently spent 5 weeks in Iloilo undertaking her medical elective. 

“I knew I always wanted to take my elective overseas. I wanted to experience a different culture, meet new people, improve my clinical communication skills between patients and other healthcare professionals, including language barriers, and see how a different healthcare system worked. I hadn’t travelled solo or to this part of the world before, so this was the perfect opportunity. 

I spent my time in internal medicine and surgery. The staff were kind throughout my time in the hospital. I made a great bond with doctors and saw some amazing cases. The healthcare system is very different from home. 

The lack of privacy for patients can be strange to witness. There are so many family members with patients that it feels like there is a community feel, something we don’t have in the UK.

As I was travelling alone, I was worried about organising every aspect of my trip and feeling safe on my own in a country very far away from home. I was so reassured to learn from Work the World that there was a clear plan for all my travel arrangements and that my placement in the hospital was guaranteed and supported throughout. I got to meet and live with so many like-minded people. 

Living in the Work the World house was incredible. Living with strangers may feel scary, but there is a massive family vibe. The house is great, and there are so many fun communal areas—the garden is the place to be. The food was also so good! The team is there to support you throughout. 

Language lessons in the house were a lot of fun. It was also really interesting to learn more about the culture. Karaoke nights were the best! They brought everyone together each week, especially with new arrivals. Going to the nearby swimming pool was so much fun. The gym was also a great place to socialise and try new classes.

The Philippines is an incredible country. There is so much to do and see. I spent every weekend travelling - I went to Boracay, which had amazing beaches, El Nido and Cebu, both have fantastic activities and nature, and Gigantes is a must! Island hopping is so much fun and was a highlight. 

I am so happy I came to The Philippines for my medical elective. If you’re considering it - go for it”.

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