Jenna O’Reilly – Medicine in Nepal
After doing a few previous medical excursions, I was looking for one across the Atlantic Ocean. After a google search, Project Abroad continuously came up and since their ratings were so high, I decided to take a peek. I saw a map of the possible medical trips, and I had never heard of Nepal so I decided to read their information page and fell in love at first sight!
Projects Abroad staff were extremely helpful, constantly contacting me with information and answering my questions. They were prompt and provided very thorough information. The staff had a lot of information on climate and culture that helped me pack and prepare for my departure. They also provided a thorough packing list that had great ideas which came in handy. I got on the plane and arrived in Nepal.
Arriving in Nepal
When I arrived, a Projects Abroad staff member showed me around the streets and helped me get my footings in the capital city. She took me to dinner and stayed with me until I felt comfortable. We sat down and went through all the documents for my placement and the house I would be staying at. I felt very comfortable when she left as I had a very good idea of what to expect. I stayed in a hotel that night, and the next day two Projects Abroad staff picked me up and took me to my host family’s house. They were a married couple with two children studying abroad. They welcomed me into their home with open arms and made me feel like part of the family. There were two other volunteers who stayed at the house while I was there. They were in different placements than I was, however, it was so nice to see the way they viewed Nepal and their placement. We all became very good friends and did everything together! They shared cultural meals with us throughout the week and tailored to our likes and dislikes about taste. They made you feel comfortable and were always okay to talk with or just give you space if you needed it to. We could do our laundry easily and were in walking distance to our placements, durbar square, local bus stop and lots of small adventures.
My Medical Project
My placement was about a 20-minute walk from where I was staying. It was a nice walk with beautiful scenery. We met many locals and enjoyed walking with the kid’s part of the way as they walked to school. Everyone in Nepal is so friendly and loves to chat. My placement was at a cancer hospital and was incredible. I only have positive words and outstanding things to say! It was a hands-on experience. I felt like I could really help the doctors with the patient care and preparation work in the OR. All the staff were so inviting and friendly, they made you feel that you belonged. I was a part of the oncology surgical team, and they were very friendly, intelligent, and always willing to help you or show you something new. It was a great experience being in the OR and seeing the team interact and work together. At the end of my placement, we were asked to write a review of our time there, what we enjoyed, what we thought was great and what needed improvement. The hospital is very thorough and is always looking for ways to improve! They have advanced medicine way beyond their funding, and truly made a hospital to be proud of.
The staff and people
I took the local bus into town on weekends to meet with the Projects Abroad staff and other volunteers for fun activities. We would do a lot of cultural activities to really experience all that Nepal has to offer. The staff I worked with in Nepal were wonderful. They always checked in to make sure I was doing okay, see if I had any questions, or if I could help them out with anything. They constantly were providing me with great resources such as how much to pay for a taxi, how to get to some big attractions, tricks to get around the busy capital, and how to ride the local bus. They were great at making you feel comfortable and making sure you were making the most out of your excursion. I never felt alone and always had someone to go to if I needed something. The staff fully take care of you. They were always a call away, and someone was always there in the country to pick up the phone. Nepal is a country I would highly recommend. This country truly has the friendliest people on earth. They will always ask you how your day is going, help you out if you need something, or just give you a good laugh.
Free time in Nepal
There are so many things to explore in Nepal, from day adventures to week long trips. It has the highest peak in the world and the deepest gorge. It also has Chitwan National Park where you can see the animals in their natural habitat. The capital region is full of beautiful temples and many small day adventures. You will not be disappointed if you chose Nepal! I am also a picky eater and was worried about the food. I was worried that I wouldn’t like anything. However, my host family was very good at tailoring food to my taste buds. In the capital and around the smaller cities, it is also very easy to find a variety of food, local to Nepal or favourites from home. One of my favourite moments in Nepal was our cultural weekend between the staff. All the Projects Abroad staff and volunteers came together in the capital city to learn how to dance Nepali style. All the Nepali locals were laughing their heads off at us. Many of them joined in and it turned into a big dance party! It was one of the funniest times. We all went out together after and enjoyed some pizza. This was a great bonding session.
It was a great time! I would highly recommend Nepal to anyone looking for an adventure. You are sure to do a lot of self-discovery, learn a lot, and have the time of your life!
This is a personal account of one volunteer’s experience on the project and is a snapshot in time. Your experience may be different, as our projects are constantly adapting to local needs and building on accomplishments. Seasonal weather changes can also have a big impact. Find out more about what you can expect from this project, or speak to one of our friendly Program Advisors.