I don't know if it was the friendly people, the beautiful beaches, the elephant rides, the crazy ‘tuk tuks’, the friends I made in the house or a little bit of everything, but I definitely fell in love with Sri Lanka.
I chose Work the World because I wanted to do something related with medicine and travel as well. During the hospital placement I had the opportunity to interact with medical students and doctors and I can easily say it was one of the best experiences I've had. Everything is different from what you've seen before, but in a good way, the key is to have an open mind and accept the differences between cultures.
I watched one surgery after the other, the registrars literally don't sleep at all!
I spent my first two weeks in gynecology and obstetrics and the consultant, registrars and students made me feel part of their team. I learned so much, the doctors explained everything, kept asking questions about the patients, and allowed me to assist in procedures – I even managed to assist two C-sections in theater! The consultant was a very interesting man. He didn't only talk about medicine, he liked to talk with us about Sri Lankan history and his experiences while travelling around the country. He also wanted to know about Mexican culture and traditions, I'm glad I had the chance to work with him.
For the next two weeks I went to the surgery department. The days in the OR went by so quickly. As soon as I arrived in the mornings there were never-ending lines of patients, so much to do. I watched one surgery after the other, the registrars literally don't sleep at all! They also let me assist several surgeries, such as appendectomies, a mastectomy, and many more, I´m really grateful for that opportunity. Two or three days per week I went to casualty and I think it's where I did the most. I assisted suturing many patients, and the doctors laughed because I always wanted to help. The Sinhala lessons we got at home were really useful there because I tried to say things to the patients to make them feel better.
The day I arrived, another eight girls from Manchester arrived as well. They were so nice and I think that’s what makes you enjoy things even more, good company, good friends.
The food in the house was simply amazing, spicy but not too much. There was usually a mix of flavors I've never tried before but I liked it so much I even asked for some recipes, that way I can have my home made ‘Roti’ anytime I want!
It was so hot (even for me!) but that was perfect for a little swim in the pool. We loved spending our afternoons going to the market, walking by the lake, visiting the temple, the ‘Big Buddha’, there's so much to do, you can't possibly be bored.
The Work the World staff advised us with weekend travel and helped make everything easier for us. On the first weekend I visited Galle, the fort, and ‘Unuwatuna’. We went to a turtle sanctuary as well, which was really lovely.
The next weekend we went to Adam's Peak it was quite cold, but with a nice 4 hour climb, a great workout though. That same weekend we visited ‘Nuwara Eliya’ and the World's End, and when you reach the top, nothing can compare to the view. It's so beautiful that you need a few minutes to take a mental picture before you keep on walking.
One must-do trip is the cultural triangle. ‘Sigiriya’ (the Lion's Rock) is massive, the history is really interesting and it's worth having a guide with you, again perfect views, you feel like you're on top of the world.
But my favorite place and weekend was Trincomalee, definitely a good choice for my last weekend in Sri Lanka. It is the perfect place to relax, stay all day in the beach, do some yoga while watching sunrise or sunsets, and you can also go snorkeling or diving in Peageon´s Island and it's totally worth it!
At this point I looked back and smiled and realized how lucky I was for having the opportunity to visit Sri Lanka, it was a once in a lifetime experience and definitely would do it again.