University of Birmingham 2012

Nursing, Sri Lanka Kandy

How to explain my experience of Sri Lanka when words just don’t do it justice! 

From the moment I got into contact with Work the World, my worries disolved straight away. Living in a different country for four weeks was an exciting, yet nerve-racking thought. However, there was always someone available to contact offering any information or advice needed.

The online step by step guide, made everything easy and quick, leaving me with more time to try to fit everything into my suitcase! 

So, the day finally arrived and I, along with a couple of friends stepped off the plane. As soon as we collected out luggage, we were met by the lovely Nili who took us to a hotel nearby to have a rest. We then went out for a traditional meal and had the chance to get to know the other new arrivals.

The next day we set off by taxi and got to see the real beauty of the Sri Lankan country while travelling to Kandy. We arrived at two beautiful houses set in the hills overlooking the centre of Kandy. We were then taken on orientation around the town and had our first tuk tuk ride which was to be our transport to many places over the following weeks. 

The following day was our hospital orientation; we were taken to meet the Chief Officer of Nursing, who gave us an introduction to what nursing will be like in the hospital and what wards we were going to be working on. He also arranged a visit to the school of nursing for us.

I had chosen to spend two weeks on the cardiology ward and two weeks on the gynaecology ward. Working on the wards was the perfect place to practice the new language because although doctors could speak English, it is still quite rare for nurses. The staff on the wards were always really enthusiastic to teach me and practice what little English they know. However, some things took a little getting used to, such as, the poor infection control. It also wasn’t an odd occurrence to see cats and dogs roaming the wards.

To make the most of your placement experience, get involved in anything and everything. It wasn’t all work and no play! On the weekends, normally a group from the Work the World house would get together and travel. During the four weeks I tried surfing, white water rafting, safari in a national park, climbed the lion rock ‘Sigirya’, tea plantations and saw lots of elephants! During the afternoons I was able to explore Kandy, spend hours trawling around the markets, visit the Temple of the Tooth, visit the beautiful Botanical Gardens or just relax in the sun and enjoy the view from the roof at the house.

The four weeks in Sri Lanka was an experience of a lifetime, I learnt so much during my time there both in and outside the hospital. I met fantastic people, did amazing things and have taken home a bunch of memories as well as a lot of tea!

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