Work the World provided me with a truly valuable experience I will always remember.
For someone quite inexperienced when it comes to travel, their organisation and support prior to my departure was incredible. I couldn’t be more thankful for their services.
By the time my flights off to Peru came around, I was well-informed and prepared for the adventure that awaited.
When my friend and I arrived in Arequipa, it was immediately apparent that the Work the World house team had our backs. They briefed us thoroughly, and their warm welcomes helped shake off any initial nerves.
Throughout our trip, the staff went above and beyond in ensuring that our accommodation felt like home.
Before commencing my hospital placement, I completed Work the World’s week-long Intensive Spanish Course.
With no prior Spanish language experience, this was admittedly a challenge — particularly the first couple of days. However, as intense as it was, I could not have been more appreciative for this course.
It helped me gain significantly more from my time in the hospital.
A huge advantage with undertaking a placement with Work the World is your ability to personalise your experience based on your interests. Thanks to their team, I was able to spend two weeks of my placement in the ED and two weeks in the surgical department as requested.
With this level of flexibility, each student with Work the World has an experience entirely unique to everyone else’s.
I was able to gain much more than what I initially expected from my four weeks in the hospital.
During my time at the ED, I quickly realised that no two days were the same. I marvelled at how the doctors overcame a multitude of challenges and at their ability to work effectively as a team under pressure.
In surgery, I followed patients over several days, tracking their progress and seeing improvements in their conditions following successful operations.
The tenacity and resourcefulness the staff displayed whilst at the hospital is something I will always hold on to from my time in Arequipa.
The hospital had a deficiency in both resources and technology compared to Australia. It was eye-opening to see how doctors and nurses of a developing nation worked in comparison.
What surprised me the most was the respect and patience the Peruvian people — no matter how long they may have been waiting to be treated — had for health professionals. It was something to behold.
Then again, it should not come as a surprise, considering the level of generosity and kindness I experienced from the locals during my time in Peru.
Whether it was at the hospital or during weekend trips, the locals were not afraid to strike up a conversation. They seemed genuine in their desire to know more about us.
Not only was this reassuring for the nerves, but it also improved our Spanish skills (even after the language course had finished).
Outside of my time at hospital, I saw some of the incredible natural wonders Peru has to offer.
Highlights included climbing Rainbow Mountain, trekking the Colca Canyon, hiking a 5800m active volcano that overlooks Arequipa, and completing the four day Inca Trail to the jaw-dropping ruins of Machu Picchu.
Before I knew it, my time in Peru was coming to a close. I learned so much about culture and healthcare that I could never have learned from a textbook.
I learned more about myself in that time than ever before. I didn’t want to leave.
The team at Work the World took care of the logistics behind the scenes, putting my mind at ease. They really had my best interests at heart from the moment I got in contact with them.
They are a huge part of why my time in South America was as successful as it was, and I cannot thank them enough.