‘High quality work experience will help you to stand out from the crowd, and show employers that you have the skills, knowledge and experience they need.’
With that statement, it is obvious why as university students waiting to join the queue of highly qualified graduates luring over one job. We are all keen to stand out and that’s not bad. Since secondary school it has been drilled deep into my skull that work experience is key.
Searching ‘healthcare work experience’ into Google, you will be bombarded with a range of opportunities. From nursing work experience in India to medical work experience in Dominican Republic. However, with all these ‘experiences’ available at a price it is easy to go off track just for the ‘experience’. Who doesn’t want a 6-week hospital placement in Thailand? Prior students claiming how rewarding the experience was, with only amazing memories made, it is obvious why everyone wants in.
As someone who was surrounded by many who took part in these opportunities, I was keen to follow in their footsteps. But as an extremely stingy and broke student, hundreds of pounds is not something I had spare in the bank. Find yourself in this position as well? Don’t worry there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to have your cake and eat it!
Here is what I did… Little 17 year old Yasmine was keen on both midwifery and biomedical science. As I used Google to answer half my prep questions, it was time to use Google to plan my life and find out what course to ditch. I found hospitals in Accra with maternity wards as well as private laboratories and emailed about 20 with as much details as I could give. Obviously, I only got a few emails back but that was more than enough. I sorted out work experience in two laboratories in Accra for the Christmas vacation, and work experience at a maternity home just outside Accra for that summer for me and a friend. Well, that’s fine and dandy but you need a roof over your head you might ask? Living in Accra did make things easy in terms of accommodation but what is there stopping you from booking into a local hotel or finding host families. There are agencies for host families I promise. Without including accommodation, I spent just over £700 and my friend just over £1000 that summer (includes flights and spending money!). With local hotels going for around £30 a night, extremely cheap food and transportation in Ghana, that’s a heck of a lot of money to save for Sugarhouse.
Although it did take a lot of planning and emails, I had a lot of freedom in planning everything, saved a significant amount of money and did not feel I was getting involved in an organization that exploited students and local communities in the name of charity or work experience (personal opinion).
I would recommend anyone to take control and plan their own international work experience!
Yasmine Kumordzi, 3rd year, Biomedical Sciences Student