University of the West of England 2013

Physiotherapy, Nepal Pokhara

Having always believed myself to be the ‘non-travelling’ type, it was with great trepidation that I signed up for the CSP competition to work abroad with Work the World (WtW) and it was with great disbelief that out of all the many entrants it was my name to be chosen as the winner.

My misgivings soon turned to excitement as I was contacted by the genuine and friendly WtW staff, my MyTrip account was set up and I was guided smoothly through all aspects of preparation for my trip. Knowing that there was always someone kind and willing to help just at the end of the phone really helped to allay any last minute jitters or travel worries.

I arrived to my chosen destination of Nepal with the warmest of welcomes and was introduced to the team and the WtW house which was beautiful and all that you could have wished for. Settling in was so easy with plenty of support and direction from staff and fellow travellers alike. This support continued throughout my whole four weeks out there and by the end it felt as if I had to say good bye to (excuse the cliché) an extended family. Equally saddening, I had to say goodbye to the delicious meals we had cooked for us morning and night by the amazing WtW cook.

I was able to see and experience the physiotherapy role in all aspects of inpatient healthcare; a rare treat that would take multiple placements to achieve in the UK

Even my hospital experience was better than I ever could have hoped for. With just two physiotherapists in the whole teaching hospital, shadowing them I was able to see and experience the physiotherapy role in all aspects of inpatient healthcare; a rare treat that would take multiple placements to achieve in the UK. Observing and noting the similarities, differences and varying approaches to patient care built up a picture for me that I shall never forget and that I hope will give me valuable insight and a broadened mind as I continue through my professional development.

In addition to this more traditional learning experience, I had the unique opportunity to observe the workings and drivers of a health system without the NHS. I heard first-hand accounts of the struggle to acquire equal respect for physiotherapy as a developing healthcare discipline and I also had the chance to see other forms of physiotherapy in the area including a private practice, a rehabilitation centre and an outreach project set up by a local group of Catholic nuns.

Nothing, however, enhanced my trip more than the people of Nepal themselves. With a novel blend of diversity, poverty, religion and history the Nepalese people have an uncanny knack for making the best of a situation and making you feel welcome and relaxed wherever you go. It was a privilege to be invited to join many of the wonderful and varied festivals that fill the Nepalese calendar and at each one to be treated as one of their own.

In four weeks I had the time of my life and many more amazing experiences than I can recount here. I went from being a ‘non-travelling’ type to a ‘when can I get my next flight back there’ type. The people and places I have discovered on the way have left me with some truly happy memories and I hope that this is not the end of my relationship with any of them.

Thank you Work the World and thank you CSP!

 

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