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Medical Internships in the Philippines - Iloilo
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Medical Internships in the Philippines - Iloilo

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Work the World have been faultless during the placement

With medical school holidays narrowing, I decided to make the most of my last big university summer and travel somewhere I had never been before. This was quite a snap decision, but with some gentle persuasion from Work the World, I was soon destined for the Philippines! My main reasons for choosing this destination were the wide range of specialities available and the prospect of lots of surgical exposure.
Arrival to the Philippines was very smooth although tiring considering the hours of travel. Once on the ground, I was met at the airport by a member of the in-country team and taken to the Work the World house. During the journey, the verbal induction was very informative as it gave me a better understanding of things to come, above and beyond what was said during the phone calls leading up to departure.

Arriving at the house was another joy, with lots of housemates to meet and food to be eaten. During the tour of the house, it became apparent that the house was very spacious and comfortable (although acclimatisation to the temperature would take time!)
My first day happened to be a bank holiday, so the entire house decided to scale the ‘Taal’ — the local volcano. This was a bit of a double-edged sword as it was a great way to get to know my new house mates, but due to my lack of acclimatisation I sweat out my body weight walking up the to the top! In hindsight, getting one of the horses up may have been more comfortable. At the top, the views were spectacular and our group also managed to get featured on a local travel show!
My first day in the local hospital was very interesting and everyone was so welcoming. The surgical team here is very large and covers most specialties. They were keen to get me involved. After the morning flag ceremony, I was straight into a round covering most surgical patients in the hospital.

All the medical staff are very competent in English, and where they slipped into the local dialect they were quick to translate. I wanted to get involved in theatre as much as possible, so I headed there in the afternoon. Within 10 minutes, I found myself in theatre during an abdominal skin graft — what a first day!
My first day far exceeded my expectations and this largely continued throughout my time in the surgical department. Theatres were another inclusive environment where inquisitiveness was rewarded with unique experiences. The more you show interest the more you get to do. Compared to the UK, much of the surgical department in the hospital is unfortunately not well-equipped, but what they do have they use very resourcefully. Mondays and Fridays were reserved for general surgery and Tuesday through to Thursday was reserved for subspecialties such as neurosurgery, urology, plastic surgery, head and neck surgery, paediatric surgery, and orthopaedic surgery - all of which I got to be involved in.

I managed to thoroughly immerse myself in all specialities at varying levels of surgical assistance. Orthopaedic surgery was by far the most engaging, allowing me to be involved in the surgical team and fully assist in procedures such as ORIF and elastic nailing. Other notable procedures in which I assisted were cerebral aneurysm clipping, cervical spine decompression and removal of large GIST. With my particular interest being neuro, this was a great centre to be exposed to a growing and developing department with a large patient base.
As well as theatre exposure, there were plenty of opportunities to experience all the facets of surgery in other departments like ER (A&E), outpatients and on the wards. The best cases were always the ones which you managed to see through their whole story, from admission to discharge.

Outside of placement, the Philippines has a lot to keep you occupied with. During the week if you enjoy looking after your wellbeing as I do, there are gyms to keep your health in check. If you’re feeling indulgent, get a massage for less than £5 for an hour. Very close to the house, there’s also a large shopping centre full of home comforts, or for a more authentic Filipino shopping experience there are markets close by.

During the weekends, there are many places you can head to. I managed to find time for a range of activities, and travel to a number of exciting places. Activities included diving, snorkelling, swimming, and canoeing. The beaches in the area are very beautiful and the nightlife in the region is diverse. I went away to places like Anilao and Puerto Galera, which were very relaxing.

It was a testament to the world service that the placement far exceeded my expectations. The support around the programme was without error. I can particularly recommend this placement for anyone who is interested in surgery, as the experience I gained here was unique and very insightful.

Work the World have been faultless during the placement showing themselves to be very accommodating and flexible to changing circumstances. The programme team are very knowledgeable and have great insight into the local area. From choices of food to placement details they are very keen to tailor your time with them.
The food was another excellent facet with our in-house chef providing diverse, high quality food that catered to all that were there. Additionally, the other members of the house team were fun to interact with and made you feel safe and secure. Lastly, the staff are keen to have your feedback so that they can continually improve their methods and placements.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A big thank you goes out to the Work the World team in Iloilo

An overseas elective is not a requirement for my course, but I chose to travel to Iloilo with Work the World, both as a holiday and as a valuable learning experience. Work the World made planning simple and made me feel safe both in the lead up to my arrival and during my stay. The staff at the house are fantastic and go out of their way to make sure you are not just surviving, but loving your time in Iloilo.

I was lucky enough to arrive at a time when the house was busy with 20 students living there. This made the experience very enjoyable as it was great to hear about everyone’s experiences and to have people to go on short or long trips with. My initial few days were focused on getting me familiar with my surroundings. Work the World gave me comprehensive orientation sessions about the house, the city and my placement. Language lessons in the house were also very helpful — it’s easy to pick up the basics you need to know from the language tutor. However, most people do speak English well, so you never feel isolated. The people in general are very friendly and helpful.

It was great to have other students around as well, to share stories and experiences with and to learn from. I came away from my clinical experience with much improved skills and I am much more confident in my abilities now.

I would encourage anyone travelling to Iloilo in future to take the opportunity to explore. I did get to visit a local resort, which was lovely, as well as many areas of the city itself. The Philippines is a great place for a holiday. The weather was great and most things were surprisingly cheap. The Assistant Programme Manager will help inform you about possible travel opportunities, so make the most of their advice and your time off! Whilst the home-cooked food in the house is fantastic, Iloilo is a food destination in the Philippines and there are many places to try out new delicacies.

A big thank you goes out to the Work the World team in Iloilo. They made me feel at home in Iloilo and my experience would not have been as enjoyable without their help and support.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Come with an open mind

Patient outcomes can be challenging, and infection control conditions are lacking. You quickly learn to accept that the way of doing things here is not wrong but just different to what you are used to, it’s eye-opening.

So too is the culture. The conditions some Filipino people live in and the amount of money they earn is so different to what we are used to back home. Most have so little but are always so welcoming and generous. My advice is to learn some of the language - it makes people happy when you try to speak to in the native tongue!

Staying at the Work the World house was a great experience. The staff at the Work the World house are also always happy and friendly. Look out for the chef who works at the house — this guy can cook! I met a lot of other lovely people who were doing their elective here too.

Come with an open mind and you will go home a changed person and in my experience, a more skilful practitioner.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Work Environment

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Lovely

We’re a little apprehensive on our first day at the clinic. Especially after trying to get a jeepney. On arrival, everyone was friendly and told us where to go. We met our supervisors at the orientation, so we knew who we would be working with, which was lovely.

On the first morning, I was worried about how different things would be but my supervisor helped me get to grips with local procedures and techniques me, with real guidance every step of the way.

Our afternoons were filled up with trips to local day centres and elementary schools. The kids were fascinated by us but behaved very well, which we weren’t used to at home! We managed to do quite a lot in one afternoon, so the experience was invaluable.

Language lessons in the house were put into full effect when trying to give a health presentation to some patients, and even if we said something silly, they seemed to enjoy it anyway.

Over all, it’s been an incredible experience, both at the Work the World house and at the clinic. We received a lot of support from everybody, and I’m sad that I’m leaving, as I would have loved to stayed for much longer.