On my overseas placement, I was able to completely immerse myself in another culture. Work the World helped me do this in a safe and supportive environment where there was always help on hand. It was also a fantastic way to make new friends from all over the world.
I decided to go on this trip as I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. I had always wanted to go to South America, but having never learnt Spanish, I was apprehensive. However, the intensive Spanish Course that Work the World also offers totally reassured me. I cannot recommend the course enough! In the space of a week, I went from having no Spanish whatsoever to being able to hold a conversation, albeit a simple one, with local people.
In terms of the Work the World service, having a contact to alleviate worries and answer questions was so helpful. They helped us with all the paperwork that our university required too. We couldn’t have had a better experience! Going with Work the World really made the process a lot easier than it would have been, as we didn’t have to worry about organising accommodation, let alone the hospital placement itself.
Some of the tumours I saw were shocking as they were typically quite advancEd (there are no screening programmes in Peru
When I first arrived at the hospital, there was a bit of a culture shock, but it made me appreciate my own healthcare system so much more. If you’re studying medicine, I can highly recommend Oncology in Peru. Cancer is prevalent there and some of the tumours I saw were shocking as they were typically quite advanced (there are no screening programmes in Peru). The doctors and nurses were really friendly and often explained what was going on around us. I also spent some time in Paediatrics and General Medicine.
In terms of travel, Machu Picchu is a must, but it does require a bit more preparation—especially if you want to do the Inca trail—when compared to other tourist attractions in Peru. My friends and I also went to Colca Canyon, Lake Titicaca, Huacachina, Cusco and many other places. There were plenty of tourist offices and travel agencies around the country, so organising trips during the weekends was no hassle at all.
Peru was pretty cheap to live in, especially when you consider that Work the World house provide your meals and accommodation. Overseas electives are not cheap, but it was well worth the money for the support and placement provided.
Some advice I would give if you’re thinking about going on a placement yourself would be to push yourself and embrace local culture. You only have one chance to undertake an overseas placement during your studies, so you may as well go big!
Don’t let the language barrier prevent you from travelling to Peru, the language course offered was amazing and that will get you up to speed. I can highly recommend Peru as a destination; it’s a beautiful country with a fascinating history, and the people are so welcoming.
My placement in Peru was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and I would go back to do it all in a heartbeat!