Texas A&M University
India Medical Elective
I was a bit apprehensive about doing an overseas elective placement but I’m I glad I went because it was an eye-opening experience that changed me for the better. A friend of mine told me about Elective International and after talking about it with my family took the elective at the beginning of my fourth year. Elective International staff was great from the get-go. They helped me work out my trip in detail and gave me tips on the preparation that made the going fairly straightforward. I was able to sort out a scheduling conflict that would’ve ended my trip.
I’ve always wanted to visit India and when I found out I could do an elective placement in the south of the country I jumped at the opportunity. I was met at the airport by Sunil, who’s the program manager. He was really helpful in getting me settled at the house. I spent the first day in orientation, getting to know the staff and the other people doing their placements, and getting a tour of the town. I can’t say I was prepared for how green and scenic Trivandrum is, but I really liked the atmosphere, which is this combination of laid-back and intense. It’s my personality type anyhow, so I guess I’m really lucky! We did a lot of our rounds in the morning and in the afternoons I spent a lot of time touring the city. There’s a lot to see, especially on the historical side. The visit to the world’s richest temple was astonishing. Also, I got to go to Kollum which is north of the city and saw the annual boat race. It’s the biggest in India and a really amazing spectacle.
On my first day at the hospital, I was at a meeting with the doctors. There was a moment where I thought it could go either way, but right after we got down to the actual discussion I felt like a member of the team. I really enjoyed doing rounds. Diseases like malaria, pneumonia, and typhoid I more or less expected in a tropical setting but I was surprised by the number of cases of Hepatitis A and diabetes. I also got to perform a gastrectomy, which took about three hours.
My experiences at the hospital and also with the outreach program giving talks on health topics has really changed me for the better. If you’re serious about medicine as a career, then take one of EI’s placements. I highly recommend it.