I did plenty of research into Mexico before I confirmed my placement with Work the World. There were loads of sites of interest local to Merida, and plenty of things to do further afield. I had also completed Spanish at A-level and wanted to develop my speaking skills.
Work the World’s Intensive Spanish Course allowed me to do just that.
I found that other students who joined me on the course—even those with only a basic level of Spanish—built up their skills in no time at all. More importantly, the course allowed everyone to get the most out of their time on placement, which we were really pleased with.
The Spanish school we attended was relaxed. All the staff were really friendly and helpful, and it was a great place to adjust into the country and culture. There was delicious food served in the restaurant downstairs and there was even a pool to cool off in during lunch!
In terms of my hospital placement, Work the World created some fantastic opportunities for me by allowing me to divide my time between inpatients and outpatients. Work the World’s relationship with my placement hospital was instrumental in helping make the most of my time there at a level appropriate for my experience.
I took part in delivering treatments to patients, saw how different cases were handled, and observed how the standard of equipment was lower than in the UK. In inpatients, I saw a lot of manual treatment thanks to a lack of equipment.
The staff and patients in the hospital were often keen to find out about what I thought of Merida. They were proud of where they lived and wanted to make sure I saw everything in the local area.
I remember treating one patient who was really motivated to make progress. He was really easy to work with. On another day, I saw him outside the hospital working at a food stall selling traditional baked pastries popular in the area.
The patient wanted me to sample these pastries, so gave me a few to try for free. This really showed the friendliness of the local people.
The atmosphere in the Work the World house meant that it was easy to make friends. So, in the afternoons and at weekends, my housemates and I explored Mexico.
In the afternoons after placement, we visited Progreso beach, which was near Merida. It was as easy as jumping in an Uber (they were reasonably priced).
On the first weekend, we visited Chichen Itza (an ancient Mayan site). We took a guided tour of the site, which got us in right away rather than having to queue. The tour also took us to an underground cave cenote as well.
The next day we went to Celestun to see the flamingos and the mangroves.
On another weekend, we went to Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun. The island was beautiful and the perfect end to a busy week on placement.