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Nursing Internships in Tanzania - Arusha

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I couldn’t have done it without you!

I came across Work the World on the internet and booking a placement with them seemed like the perfect option for me, as I have never done any travelling outside of Europe and they were able to provide loads of advice about organizing my trip.

On arrival in Arusha we were met at the airport by The Program Manager of the Work the World in Arusha, and taken out for lunch before being driven back to the house to meet the rest of the staff and our new housemates. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and the staff were always on hand to give advice about everything from booking trips to getting the most out of your placement. On the first full day in Arusha we were taken out for an induction, which covered all the basics such as buying sim cards, changing money and searching out the best local eateries and bars. We were also introduced to the dala dala – a form of public transport, which was definitely a unique experience!

The following day was our first day of placement, so we were taken to the hospital and shown around by the matron who introduced us to literally every member of staff there! The matron was really friendly, and although she did not directly supervise us, she always took an interest in what everyone is doing, and keen to help you make the most of your time in the hospital. I spent most of my placement on the female ward, and during my time I dealt with patients with a wide variety of health problems including malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and surgical cases. All the nurses on the ward were very welcoming and allowed me to be actively involved in patient care. One piece of advice I would give to anyone doing a placement here is to be proactive and show that you are willing to work and learn, it’s the only way to earn the trust and respect of the staff.

I visited several other departments, including major theatre, minor theatre, and the Counselling and Treatment Centre (CTC), which is the outpatient department that provides care for people with HIV and AIDS. I found this particularly interesting as I was keen to learn about HIV and AIDS during my placement. The doctors in the CTC spent time taking to me about the treatments they provide and I was allowed to sit in on some of the consultations. Despite my limited knowledge of Swahili, I still found this useful, as the doctors kindly explained things to me in English as they were going along. I also spent a week on the labor ward, which was amazing as I have never had the opportunity to do this at home.

There were plenty of things to keep us amused in our spare time in Arusha. The Maasai market is lots of fun as long as you are willing to haggle, and there is a variety of bars and restaurants and a few clubs as well - Via Via on a Thursday night is particularly good! No trip to Tanzania would be complete without a safari, and we spent three days in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara watching the wildlife. I was amazed at just how many animals we saw and how close we got to them, it was definitely my favorite part of the trip!

I really enjoyed my time in Arusha and met loads of great people during my stay. The staff out there were really helpful and supportive, since I have been back I have especially missed the Work the World house chef’s amazing cooking! After eight weeks we were sad to leave, but enjoyed four days relaxing on the beaches of Zanzibar before flying back home. I would definitely recommend a placement with Work the World to anyone looking to do something different and challenging on their elective, it is a brilliant experience and looks good on your CV too! I would like to thank all the staff in Arusha and the UK for helping me have a fantastic elective. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I experienced a lot

After a long flight to Kilimanjaro airport we were met by the Assistant Program Manager who greeted us and took us straight for a much needed lunch before taking us to the WTW house where we were shown around and given time to settle in. The following day was orientation day and we were shown around the local town of Arusha and got our first taste of the Massai market, which was an experience. Along with this we were given our first taste of the local dish Ugali (a bit like mash), something that needs to be tried. We were given our first sight of the hospital we were to be working in for the duration of the eight-week placement.

During my placement I experienced a lot. I opted for four weeks on a surgical ward, 2 weeks on gynecology and 2 weeks on a labor ward. As my confidence grew I was able to participate more and by the end of it I was having a laugh with the staff. As I had never had any previous experience on labor wards I wasn't sure what to expect but the doctors were very supportive and keen on teaching. Under supervision I actually delivered my first ever baby. My time spent in the hospital certainly made me appreciate the healthcare services we have back home, as much of the care provided involved improvisation using various equipment and limited space. I was very surprised to see two patients sharing one hospital bed, however I soon realized that this was the norm and happened on a regular basis. The hospital was very flexible when it came to rotating onto different wards and I always felt they tried their best to accommodate me. The only aspect I found difficult to start with was the language barrier but with WTW providing weekly Swahili lessons, and with the help of a Swahili phrase book, I was able to greet and interact with the patients.

During my 2 months there I was always able to fill my weekends as there were endless things to do such as the snake park or guided walks to local villages, although if you do organize a walk make sure you understand how far it is as we ended up walking many km's up a mountain in flip flops after an ‘enjoyable evening’ at a local bar the night before! Whilst all the trips were memorable, the two most enjoyable were going to Zanzibar for five days where we experienced the white sandy beaches and turquoise seas, and a three-day safari where we were lucky enough to see the ‘big five’ as well as lots of animal babies due to the season.

It is not only weekends that you are able to easily fill; after your hospital shift there is always the opportunity to visit an orphanage. Despite the children's backgrounds they were always full of laughter and smiles and were able to bring a smile to the face of anyone who visited them. One such day we took face paints with us which certainly proved a big hit, especially as we ended up with more paint on our faces than on the kids. Whilst we were there, we also invited the children up to the house for a party and were able to see them enjoying the large space that surrounds the house.

Back at the house, the WTW staff couldn't be more helpful. If there was ever a problem or if you just wanted some advice or information on good places to visit, they were always able to help. Our personal chef made amazing food and was always able to cater for individual needs. The weekly BBQs – often followed by a trip to the local nightclub, Via Via – were a highlight. I can’t fault my experience, and most of all the help received by the Work the World staff both before and during my stay. I would recommend anyone wanting to experience a different culture and way of life to take advantage of the helpfulness of this standout company and make the most of their support, experience and expertise.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My trip to Tanzania was a once in a lifetime experience

After an extremely long wait in the infamous Nairobi Airport, we boarded the small plane and set off for the final leg of our journey to Kilimanjaro Airport. Following months of planning it was hard to believe we were actually in Africa and about to embark on a huge adventure to the Work the World house in Arusha, Tanzania.

We found out about Work the World through a trusty search engine. From the moment we sent out applications to the phone call from the team the day before we were due to travel, Work the World were brilliant – always there to answer any queries or concerns that we had and providing us with all the information we needed for our trip. I can honestly say I have never known anyone to respond to emails as quickly as the Work the World team, it made a huge difference to the planning of our trip and allowed us to look forward to it as opposed to stressing out!

Stepping off the plane in Kilimanjaro we were met by the ever smiling Assistant Program Manager who was there to help us with our bags and take us to the Work the World house. The car journey on that first day was so surreal, it was hard to believe we were actually in Africa, filled with nerves, excitement and anticipation. I didn't know what to expect, but the Assistant Program Manager’s Swahili lessons in the car definitely made us feel more at home!

As we arrived at the weekend we were taken straight to the house to settle in and were greeted by our amazing housemates and the work the world staff who instantly made us feel at home, we did have to wait one whole day though to experience the house caterer’s amazing cooking; it was well worth the wait!

Our first day began with an orientation around Arusha, with the Assistant Program Manager showing us the nearest banks, internet cafes and local shops. This was followed by a trip to the Massai Market, which I have to say, definitely impressed me; by the end of my 6 weeks I was a regular visitor. The Assistant Program Manager gave us all the information we needed to make us feel safe and comfortable in the town and he was able to answer all our questions, it was clear to see the APM loved his job, and was extremely good at it!

Our first official day at the hospital began on the Children's Ward. Nothing can prepare you for the culture shock you will experience on your first day. Everything is different to the healthcare we are privileged to have in the developed world – from the hygiene, to equipment and the environment, you truly get to see a first glimpse at the struggles the staff face every day. My first initial shock was to see two or maybe three children sharing the same bed with their mothers, as you can imagine it made it extremely difficult to access the patients, but also led to confusion when trying to hunt down notes. However, the hospital staff cannot be faulted for making the best out of a situation and carrying out tasks with the best of their resources, the staff always had a smile on their faces even when presented with difficult cases.

We spent two weeks on the children’s ward, and then the remaining four on the Neonatal Unit. Although extremely upsetting and suffice to say frustrating most of the time, it was very interesting to see how premature care is delivered to babies and comparing the daily routines to the ones we are used to in hospitals at home. The staff on the Neonatal unit were amazing and so friendly; they made us welcome from the moment we started and definitely made the remainder of our hospital placement memorable.

Although the placement is a big part of the Work the World experience, fun packed weekends definitely made the experience a lot better. There is never a shortage of things to do in and around Arusha and a few highlights for me included the four-day Safari, seeing animals in the natural environment is one of the most remarkable things I have seen and it will stay with me forever (a definite must for everyone). For those who like the idea of climbing a mountain, but aren’t prepared for Mt. Kilimanjaro, climbing Mt. Meru is the next best thing (there are views of Kilimanjaro from the top). This is probably my proudest achievement, I cannot describe the feeling of standing on the summit after hiking through the night, but it is definitely something, I would recommend it to anyone, even if you are not a huge fan of walking! If you are not hardcore enough to stay with the Massai for the whole week like me, a day trip to the village is definitely worth it and lots of fun. You’ll experience how the tribe live, not to mention have a million laughs learning to dance like a Massai woman or warrior!

If you are stuck for things to do after placement during the week (not that you will be), visit the local orphanages. Both are brilliant places to go and play with the children. These are some of the poorest children you will ever meet, but I guarantee they will also have the biggest smiles on their faces and will have you laughing the whole time you are there. It is truly inspiring to see these young children in the environment they are in and remain so overwhelmingly happy. It’s moment’s like these that allow you to appreciate life and how lucky you are!

My trip to Tanzania was a once in a lifetime experience, and Work the World provided me with this opportunity. It has enabled me to experience healthcare at a completely different level, learning new things and appreciating the NHS!

All the staff in England are extremely helpful, and the staff in Arusha are some of the most amazing people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. I will remember them and my trip for a very long time.
Thank you Work the World!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The only major decision I would have was where to go!

When trying to find out information about organizing placements abroad I came across the Work the World website. I read what they had to offer and realized they were exactly what I needed. They would do all the organizing of the placement; all I had to do was tell them what I wanted to get out of it. My accommodation would be organized and I wouldn’t have to worry about food because this was all included. In fact, the only major decision I would have was where to go!

After reading all the places where they could arrange placements, and all the added extras that could be provided in those areas, I decided on Tanzania, because of the Maasai Village Healthcare Experience. I have always had an interest in the Maasai culture, but never in a million years thought I could experience the culture for myself. I looked at the prices and they did seem quite expensive at first, but when I added how much everything would be if I had organized my placement independently, there wasn’t much difference. The added bonus was that I knew I would be looked after in a country where I didn’t speak the language and where it would be very daunting as a lone visitor. You can’t put a price on your safety.

The Work the World team in the UK office provided me with all the information I needed, an itinerary of what I needed to do and when, such as vaccinations, applying for the visa etc.

They gave me a list of all the things to bring with me, which is very important when you normally pack everything including the kitchen sink and tend to forget life’s little essentials. They also kept me informed of where I would be staying and even the people who I would be sharing the house with, so we didn’t have to be complete strangers when I arrived.

The day of my placement soon arrived, and after a long and tiring flight I touched down at Kilimanjaro International Airport. Although I was excited I was also nervous. Had I made the right decision to do all this on my own? I was met at the Airport by Freddie, the Assistant Program Manager from Work the World. It takes about an hour to get to the house from the airport, and within that hour the Assistant Program Manager taught me basic greetings in Swahili and told me what would be happening the next morning.

In the morning I met The Program Manager. He gave me and the other newbie’s a guide of the house and also of Arusha. He took us on a dala dala (a kind of minibus) and I’m glad he did because I wouldn’t have got on one of my own accord, and they are certainly an experience not to miss!! The most people anyone had seen on it was 29, and 2 goats and some chickens!

The Program Manager showed me where the hospital that I was working at was and introduced me to the Matron. The hospital that I was allocated to was a small private hospital. Although private, don’t expect too many luxuries. Luxury here is a washing machine, a drip stand and one bed per patient. However the hospital staff are knowledgeable and can read a person better than any machine. The majority of people at the hospital do not speak English, with the exception of the doctors and nurses, but then of course even in UK hospitals English can be limited. A basic understanding of Swahili is really useful, but a Work the World Swahili teacher comes to the house one evening a week and he teaches you what you want to know. Besides, all the notes are written in English, so you will be able to know what is wrong with each patient.

I spent my first week on the maternity ward. Here there is one bed in the delivery room, a prenatal ward and a postnatal ward which each have about 10 beds.
There is one midwife on shift and one healthcare/domestic. Families provide all personal care and food, so the midwife’s job is to administer any medication, childbirth and clean and dress any caesarean wounds and other maternity problems. There was certainly an element of culture shock, due to the hospital’s fantastic improvisations. There are no umbilical clips; thin cut pieces of catheter tubing with a bit of string are used, and gloves second as tourniquets. What you can learn here is vast and anything you want to know, the team are willing to answer.

My second week was spent on the surgical ward, again with only one nurse on shift. They have three bays – male, female and private. At the start of the shift there is a ward round with the doctor. Then the morning was spent between cleaning and dressing wounds of inpatients (you will see some amazing wounds) and dealing with out patients who come onto the ward to be treated by the nurse. I was also given the chance to go into theatre and watch operations. In the early afternoon it they have the drugs round and soon after that the shift ends. The hospital team are fantastic, but if you want to easily earn their respect I advise you to attend the morning church service, you might not understand what is being said but the singing is beautiful and can be quite moving.

On some of the evenings I went to a local orphanage. This is run by two of the most amazing people, they have taken in 13 orphans, but are trying to raise money to acquire land, build and run an orphanage helping about one hundred orphans. I say amazing, because they are in their seventies and they get no help from the government nor do they have a regular income. They have some help from local volunteers and the children are a credit to them; they are polite, they like to play, run round and generally jump all over the place and have the biggest smiles I have ever seen. Although I was exhausted at the end of each evening their company is addictive.

In my spare time I went on a four-day safari; visiting Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plains - it’s more than worth the money. The cost included all the parks entry fees, the Jeeps, the food and cook (the food was delicious), the tents, and amazingly knowledgeable guides who can spot an ant on the horizon! - Four of us would be scanning in all directions for animals and the guide who was concentrating on driving would suddenly point to a lion walking through the long grass about a mile away, or a cheetah basking in the distance, both of which we could only see with binoculars! You will see loads of animals close up, and will definitely go away seeing most of, if not all, of the big five plus tons of other animals along the way.

I also did the Maasai Village Healthcare Experience, which was amazing. I was met at the house by my personal guide and cook. Here we got a taxi to the dala dala station, got a dala dala to Monduli Chini, where we then got a pick-up truck to Monduli Juu. Once at Monduli Juu, my guide and I walked to see the Oloboni (Medicine man). He claimed he was able to tell what is wrong with a patient by speaking to God and reading stones. I went in thinking it was all a bit far-fetched, and believe what you will, but from my experience I couldn’t believe how accurate he was with the three things he told me (and they were things that there was no way he could have known).

We then walked to the Boma (the Maasai compound) that was 13 miles uphill (remember, I did say I roughed it). For a little bit more money you could get a truck all the way from the house to the Boma. I stayed in a traditional hut whilst I was there and the villagers were amazing - they all came to greet me, and I soon settled in and felt at home. The second day we walked another 5 miles to the Place of Orpul, along the way the guide pointed out barks, roots and leaves used for medicinal purposes by Maasai. We were greeted by some of the villagers at the site and I was given a guided tour. There was an option to watch a goat sacrifice ceremony – I chose not to, but I now regret that decision! Whilst at the Orpul site they made medicine from some roots, which I was offered to try and then there was a treat with traditional Maasai singing and dancing. This was amazing…and they really do jump high!

On the way back, we walked with a village elder. He showed what is effectively their local pharmacy; the trees that surround the village. He showed me barks and roots for pain relief whilst in labour; tree sap that is an antiseptic for cuts, flower nectar to help with depression, berries for pneumonia, the list is endless.
At the start of my trip I got off the plane at Kilimanjaro nervous about the decision I’d made. By the end of the trip I left Tanzania not only with memories that I could never have dreamed of before the trip, but with new friends I have kept in touch with and a great desire to return once I qualify.

Thank you Work the World!