Friday, 29 July 2011

Gap Summer!

I'm currently posting from a pay-per-a-minute internet cafe in Cambodia so apolagies if this post is even less coherant than normal!

Well I got through my intercalated finals, worked my last shifts at the S.U bar, packed up my halls and headed home briefly before heading off on my very own gap summer. Part of my less academic motivations for intercalating were that it would give me a MASSIVE summer holiday right before my elective that I could use for travelling and in a way make up for never having a gap year as I always feel pretty jealous hearing about all the exciting things friends have got up to on theirs.

My orginial plan was to travel in the country I am doing my elective before heading to the hospital for that. Hasnt quite worked out like that as I am doing my elective in Tanzania but couldn't find others who wanted to travel there first and didn't feel it would be the safest place to travel as a lone female. So intead I am travelling through S.E. Asia with a group of friends as one of the group, my housemate is doing her elective in thailand at the thai/burma border where there is a small hospital set up for refugees from burma and having also intercalated she was keen to travel here first. So currently I am in cambodia having already been in Thailand for the past 3 weeks and I'm heading soon to Laos. Then I will head back to the UK for just 5 days before heading straight to Tanzania, pretty excited!

Am having an amazing time but won't dwell on it much as is very non medical for the most part. Gained my intercalated degree grade whilst here and got a 2.1, tad disappointed to be honest as was let down my my dissertation which was a 2.1 - most of my other modules were firsts or only just off but as dissertation was a 1/3 of my grade and that was a lowish 2.1 the other modules couldn't pull my grade up enough. But I'm not too gutted because I had an amazing year that I will never forget and met a lot of truly awesome people so when it comes to it I see getting a 2.1 as a bit of a bonus on top of a good year :). Plus this year has allowed me to save up to be where I am at the moment so can't complain too much!

The only medical experience I have had here was giving blood at a cambodian childrens hospital as we had seen posters everywhere asking for tourists to donate as there is a current epidemic of dengue haemorragic fever - a tropical disease that like malaria is transmitted by mosquito bites. I've been cramming a bit for my elective during the long bus journeys and this was one of the tropical diseases I had learnt about so it felt pretty good to do a bit to help those kids suffering from it. It was also interesting to compare the blood giving process here to that of england, there were actually very few differences and I was impressed at how efficient and well carried out it was here (not that I am saying the UKs process isnt! Because we have a great blood donating scheme) despite Cambodia being a very poor country.

Like England we got free snacks after donating to help prevent feeling faint, unlike England we also got this very fetching free t shirt. Win!

Now on to my elective... For those reading this from a non medical background, an elective is where we get the chance to carry out an 8 week placement in a hospital/ clinic anywhere in the world. The only stipulation is that it is safe to visit - ie not in the middle of a war. This is a pretty amazing opportunity and not one that I intend to squander so whilst I know some students view it as a chance for a holiday somewhere sunny, I really hope to get stuck in with the work at the hospital and hopefully gain a lot of valuable experience and make some kind of difference at the hospital. This is part of my medical school training that I have been looking forward to since before I even started med school and I imagine lots of medical students/ wannabe medical students who possibly read this may feel the same so I will try and blog lots throughout my elective - or at least write in a diary and type up later if I can't get the computer access.

But thats all for now, hope everyone has a great summer! Halfadoc x