University of Alberta 2015
I chose work the world after doing research online and reading the reviews that people had posted. It seemed like a very organized website with simple instructions and the explanations fro the placement was very easy to follow. I also had a friend that had been to Sri lanka through work the world and she had a wonderful experience and recommended this company.
Assistance before the trip was wonderful. The website was very organized and it gave you a general idea of how your trip might look (placement and village experience). Assistance over the phone was also very nice and they were very accommodating to time differences to make calls. I also got prompt replies through emails if I had any questions that needed to be answered. It was also nice that they spaced out the calls instead of just doing one pre departure phone call.
The airport pick up was good. I was able to spot the Work the world employee right away and was taken directly to the house with no problems.
After arriving at the house we had an orientation about what we would be doing the next day/information about our placements. The next day we had a tour of the city/the main areas that we would have to know to get around on our own. We learned about the jeepney/tricycle system which is helpful because you do take them multiple times a day. We were also taken to the hospital and attended an introduction ceremony which was really nice and everyone was really welcoming.
The support provided by the Work the World staff here in Iloilo is amazing. Whenever I had concerns or questions about anything I was always able to find someone to help me. The support they offered ranged from health care support to helping us plan our weekends away.
I had the most eye opening experience during my 5 weeks. I started my placement in the Medical ICU where I was mostly able to observe the care that was provided for critical patients. After a couple days of observation the staff allowed me to start cannulas and take ECGS. The MICU was a slower pace that the ER but it gave you a lot of time to ask questions and really learn why they do the things that they do. For the next two weeks I was in the ER department. It is also worth it to go in for a few evening shifts because they are busier. For my last week I was in the delivery room where I was able to see many deliveries (and many cute babies). Overall this placement has made me so much more appreciative of the health care we receive at home. I am also so inspired by all of the health care staff that I worked with because the make the best of every situation despite the limited resources they have.
I did my village experience in my fourth week and I thought it was a great cultural experience. We were picked up by one of the members of the Katikati tribe who was also our translator for the week, although the family we stayed with spoke English very well. During the mornings we were at the hospital and I was on the OB ward as well as the NICU. After the morning the hospital we were taken home by Papa, who is also a tricycle driver. During the afternoons we did activities such as learning how to weave, visiting the windmill, going the beach. The family was so sweet and they take you into their home with open arms. I also had such a blast playing with the children of the Katikati tribe in the new village that they are building. During our last night in the village the family had organized a barbeque night for us which included tribal dancing and a traditional Filipino meal. Although the accommodation was very basic I still had an amazing time learning about the tribe and hearing they stories, it was a great enrichment experience.
Being in the house with people from all around the world was amazing. I have made so many new friends in almost every country possible. You go through so many experiences with the students in hospital, on the weekends away, and in the village that you become like a family! I’ve also learned so much from the people in the house health care wise, from pharmacy to radiology to osteopathic medicine.
During my stay at the house I was able to visit Boracay, Antique and Guimaras. I would consider Boracay and Antique equally as amazing but for different reasons (both are must). Boracay was a nice relaxing weekend with some activities such as parasailing, banana boating, and helmet diving. I have never seen such a beautiful beach in my entire life. On the other hand Antique was an adventure filled weekend and we had a blast the whole time. Your days are jam packed with activities but they are activities that you would never do anywhere else such as waterfall climbing, boulder jumping, and tubing down a river. The tour that we booked for antique was very well planned and it was nice to just focus on the activities. I was also able to go to Guimaras a few times throughout my stay in Iloilo. It’s very convenient and the port is only 20 minutes away!
My advice for future students would be to try everything you can (within reason). The best experiences I’ve had have been the last minute plans to do something out of the ordinary. Try the local food, try some new activities, and meet new people! Also, try and have at least one conversation with everyone in the house. The stories you share and the people you meet will stay with you forever and it’s amazing how much you learn from others. It’s also very much worth it to really get to know the Work the World staff! They are all amazing individuals and it will make your trip a million times better! I’ve had the time of my life in Iloilo and would not have changed a single thing!