For my nursing placement, I chose to spend four weeks in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka.
After finding Work the World and choosing Sri Lanka with the help of one of their elective consultants, I was given access to My Trip—Work the World's personalised online placement planning dashboard. All the information I needed was at my fingertips online, and it had an interactive timeline for when certain things needed to be sorted by. It was invaluable. The team were great throughout, and if I had any questions or worries there was always someone on the other end of the phone or an email ready to assist me. They helped right up to departure and when I got to Sri Lanka, Work the World's team on the ground were amazing throughout the trip.
—Amy on top of Sigiriya Rock—
The Work the World house was truly a home from home. The staff made us feel welcome and comfortable and allowed us to just treat it like home. We had cooking lessons from the chef in how to prepare traditional Sri Lankan street food (without the extra spices!), and any dietary requirements or preferences we had were totally catered for.
My placement hospital was a 5-minute walk from the Work the World house. The department were a real mix of old and new in terms of equipment, but generally it was much lower resource than I was used to at home. I spent time in the mental health ward and outpatient clinics, working closely with a consultant. The ward was extremely busy, meaning staff and patients didn’t get as much interaction as I expected. Everyone was friendly, staff and service users included. Some of them were keen to show off any English they knew, and they loved it when I tried to speak to them in Sinhala (the local language).
Working in the outpatient clinics was an experience to say the least. The consultants saw anywhere between 150 and 200 patient per day. There are no appointment times so people turned up in the early hours of the morning to ensure that they were first in the queue.
The consultant that I worked with conducted his sessions in Sinhala then spent some time with me translating it to English and discussing treatment options with me.
—Amy in front of some Sri Lankan ruins—
During time off in the evenings and at weekends, we got out and explored Sri Lanka. I went to Mihintale—a mountaintop with 1800 ancient steps to climb. I paid extra for a guide here who showed me around and told me the history, and he also acted as my personal photographer for the day! The standing Buddha was another great trip, as was Sigiriya Rock, The Golden Temple, Ancient City and Minneriya National Park.
There are many more things I would have done had I the time. It just means I've got a reason to go back to Sri Lanka on holiday!
I would advise anyone considering a placement in Sri Lanka to experience the different types of travel as they are great experiences!
I spent my final week in Sri Lanka undertaking Work the World's Ayurvedic Experience, which I would highly recommend! I spent the week learning about Ayurvedic medicine in a rural village and learning traditional Sri Lankan culture staying. The Ayurvedic hospital was based in a small village in northern Sri Lanka, but people travelled from all over the world to visit this doctor.
Patients paid in offerings of leaves and small monetary donations. The treatment table was basic, and the cloth wasn’t changed from person to person. This is just something we had to accept as their way of working. More modern clinical institutions were scarce in the area. Traditional medicines were made from natural ingredients found in the surrounding forests. Injuries, for example, were covered in ointments and bark, and then wrapped in cloth. Ailments ranged from slipped discs to broken legs. On one of the days, I accompannied the doctor to another town where he was scheduled to provide free treatments for those who couldn't afford it. The sheer number of people who turned up was unbelievable.
—A Tuk Tuk - the local transportation!—
During the experience week the afternoons Work the world planned different activities for us—there was so much for us to see and do!
One particularly memorable experience was the full moon celebration. The whole family got together and planned to go to the local temple to celebrate. I was lucky enough to be invited along and they treated me just like part of the family.