Panitra Angkeeros - Medicine in Nepal
I was immediately attracted to the thought of being independent and being able to try out my dream. My dream is to become a doctor and help others. When I saw the Projects Abroad poster in my school's career room which had the 2 weeks High School Special Medicine program, I couldn’t jump fast enough into this wonderful opportunity. I felt like I was ready to go overseas by myself and broaden my horizon.
After I had applied for this program, I was super excited. Projects abroad was amazing in terms of preparation as they contacted me and gave me many useful information. I knew there was nothing to worry about. I was in good hands. My family and friends were very supportive because they know how life changing this would be for me as well as for them.
My flights to Nepal were very long as I flew from Auckland to Kathmandu with a 2 hours stopover in Guangzhou, China. As strange as this may sound, it felt very good to be travelling by yourself as you know you are independent and you are capable of taking care of your self. After the long flights and the hectic arrival at the Tribhuvan airport, I finally saw the amazing city, Kathmandu. I was greeted by the Projects Abroad staff who drove us the hotel. The city reminded me a lot of my birthplace, Thailand. However, the streets of Kathmandu were more hectic and unique. I remember being in the van and thinking to myself "Am I really in Kathmandu, Nepal?" It seemed so surreal to me. I quickly fell in love with the country. From then on, I knew love at first sight does exist.
We stayed at the Hotel Excelsior for the first night in Kathmandu and the following morning, we left for Chitwan where our placements were. Chitwan was a 6 hour bus ride so it was a great time to talk and get to know some of the other volunteers.
We started our placements the following day. We spent each day at a different hospital or at a different health care center. Some of the placements were at the Cancer Hospital, Eye Center, Family planning clinic. My second placement was at the Chitwan Medical college where I saw 4 surgeries in one day! The surgeries I saw was stitching up a man's head who got hit by a bus, C-section, removal of a cyst and orthopedics (a woman snapped her femur in half). Everyday, I experienced something new and amazing. From C-sections, multiple surgeries and radiotherapy to seeing patients. We had lectures we would attend which was very interesting.
The doctors and nurses were very kind and supportive as they would explain and teach us what was happening. We also had an anatomy workshop where we saw human organs and bodies of those who donated themselves to science. Volunteers were divided into different groups of 5. Each group went to the placements together as a team. My group was amazing as we got along well and we helped each other learn. It wasn’t all medicine and placements all the time. Each day after we hang up our lab coats and the hard work at our placements, we had spare time to relax, go to the gym or hang out with friends. We also took the weekends off to go to Chitwan National Park. It was such a relaxing but yet adventurous getaway. This is one of the main highlights of the trip as it was so beautiful that I had to keep pinching myself to see if it was real. Other highlights were at the Children's Malnourished center where we saw kids being taken care of by great nurses and staff. The beautiful smile of the children's faces and the sound of their laughter when we played with them made my heart warm up by a couple of degrees.
I learnt and experienced so much that words cannot describe. I learnt to become independent and mature as Projects Abroad saw us and treated us as medical students. I dearly miss all of the other 24 volunteers. Also, our supervisor, Jade was fantastic, she made the trip more valuable. This trip had furthermore solidified my dream to study medicine and it catalyzed my goals of helping others. I will definitely return to Nepal where it all began. It was such an amazing experience that I would never experience back home in Auckland. There aren't many opportunities like this so I say take the leap of faith. You will not regret a single moment.