I chose to undertake my placement Anuradhapura because Sri Lanka was on my travel bucket list and I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to go!
Work the World gave me all the information I needed about the OT department in Anuradhapura. I ended up with a solid understanding of the opportunities, and then I went to discuss this with my supervisors. The planning process was perfect.
Cases were, indeed, different from what I was used to.
Given the OT department was in a hospital setting, there was a strong focus on the medical model. Having said that, the diversity of cases made my placement very interesting.
There is a strong focus on patient-centered care in Australia. In Sri Lanka — due to the lack of resources and trained professionals — the patient to occupational therapist ratio was poorly balanced.
I spent time as an OT in the psychiatry department too. I did some art therapy with the patients, and at first only a few showed interest. After some encouragement, the room was full.
The patients were determined to impress — they all spent time drawing and colouring their own pictures. They each then gave their drawings to me — something I will remember forever.
Staying in Sri Lanka for a month gave me the time to appreciate the more subtle cultural nuances and improve my Sinhalese.
In the afternoons and during weekends, my housemates and I visited some of Anuradhapura’s attractions. We also travelled further afield to Kandy, Pinnawala, Mihintale. These experiences really helped us to bond during our time there.
During times when my housemates were busy, I hired a private tuk tuk and explored the sacred city myself. It was a peaceful and rewarding experience.