My favourite thing about travelling is, without a doubt, the wonderful people I meet because of it.
From a young age I knew I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, and a goal I had before completing my degree was to undertake an elective overseas which would offer opportunities to develop personally and professionally.
Undertaking a midwifery placement in a regional hospital in the heart of Dar es Salaam was a privilege
I chose Tanzania for my elective placement at the end of my second year. There’s no doubt that Africa is the most beautiful country I have travelled to.
Undertaking a midwifery placement in a regional hospital in the heart of Dar es Salaam was a privilege and an eye-opening experience.
I was in awe of how clinical procedures are managed with little analgesia or none at all. I witnessed nothing but bravery and patience from those that I helped bring their bundle of joy into the world. I am grateful for being able to witness this first hand as it is not something you can explain to others.
I was able to exchange knowledge with doctors, midwives, and other healthcare students, which helped me gain confidence in my own abilities. It was important to remember that I was in their community and to remain culturally sensitive.
By learning Swahili, I was able to have conversations with patients and local people who were quick to compliment my Swahili and encouraged me to learn more.
There is nothing quite like a safari in Africa.
I never felt unsafe walking around. Exploring Mikumi National Park one weekend I saw everything one could possibly see in the wild from serene landscapes, to crocodiles and giraffes. One of the most surreal experiences was watching a family of lions in their element eating a zebra. There is nothing quite like a safari in Africa.
I ventured to the beautiful island of Zanzibar too. Exploring Zanzibar meant I could try different African cuisines, which were exquisite. My tour guide educated me on the history of Zanzibar, and the hidden gems it had to offer. Changuu Island, also known as Prison Island, was used as a quarantine-hospital to treat the sick in World War 2. Here I got to feed giant tortoises, which was another great experience. I also went on a ‘blue safari’ where I swam and went snorkelling in the Indian Ocean and tasted different seafood dishes, which were divine.
With all the fun I was having, it was hard to leave my new friends and the beautiful country behind.
This journey has broadened my horizons, and I have definitely crossed some things off of my personal bucket list.
The most important thing I learnt was to be present and enjoy every second because experiences like this are once-in-a-lifetime. I savoured every moment.
I hope to inspire other students to go on an elective placement abroad as it can be life-changing. I plan to work abroad when I qualify as a midwife, as experiences like this one are the key to moving forward in this ever-evolving society.