I had always wanted to do an overseas placement, but I never knew the best way to organise it. Choosing to go with Work the World relieved all the pressure of arranging it. I simply had to sign up, then I was given my own personal portal, MyTrip which outlined everything I needed to complete prior to departure.
The staff at Work the World, both over the phone and in Pokhara, are very welcoming and friendly. The chef put his heart and soul into the cooking, and it showed. The food was amazing, and could cater for all diets (e.g. vegan, vegetarian). You felt very well supported by the team, especially as they take you to the hospital and introduce you to the consultants. This removed some of the nerves I had about entering a hospital in a different country. You also get an orientation of the town itself to show you how to use the bus and what there is to do outside of placement. There were language lessons weekly which gave the opportunity to improve my Nepali and be able to put that into practice around town and in the hospital.
I did my 2 week placement in the Emergency Department of a teaching hospital. I thoroughly enjoyed the placement and gained an appreciation for how lucky I am to have access to the Australian healthcare system. Something that stuck with me from placement was one of the consultants saying "We know how to practice good medicine and have the necessary knowledge, but we don’t have the same resources as other countries to be able to do it”.
A particular case that reflects this was a patient was having a heart attack and was indicated for PCI/cath lab. But, the family couldn’t afford the intervention, so they had to use cheaper options. They couldn’t afford the best medication either, so they ended up using a drug which was less effective and had more chances of side effects.
Living in the house with other healthcare students provided the opportunity to make new friends with other people from Australia and all over the globe. It was nice how we had a welcome dinner the first night to get to know the other students. We did lots of exploring outside of placement hours, such as renting boats to go out on Phewa Lake or going for walks to the suspension bridge for pretty views. We went to bars, restaurants, played games at home and sat on the rooftop of the house enjoying the views. We caught the local buses to get to Begna’s Lake. After a big day of walking, a massage was always a nice option. Many people went paragliding, which I will have to do next time I come back.
Pokhara is the gateway to the Annapurna region, boasting beautiful views of the Himalaya’s that can be seen from the town on a clear day. The close proximity meant there were options to do weekend hiking. I did the Ghorepani Poon Hill trek with two others, which gave awesome panoramic views of the Himalaya’s. It was very satisfying to watch the sunset or sunrise each day with a warm tea or hot chocolate to keep you warm. The great thing about this trek is it is short enough that you can do it over a weekend between weeks of placement!
Once my placement with Work the Work concluded, I did the Annapurna Base Camp trek. Many students took the opportunity to go on a trek after placement before flying home. This is something I recommend doing as you are already there! The views were breathtaking and definitely the best of my life to date.
I have been to lots of countries in the last few years, and Nepal is by far my favorite. I could not recommend you doing a placement with Work the Work in the Pokhara anymore. It’s a once in a lifetime experience that I think many other students should take. I will be returning to Pokhara in the near future to do more hiking!