Our work centred around the children's home- Hogar Teresa de Los Andes. this children's home looked after 106 kids and adults who had varying degrees of physical and learning disabilities. Every morning, we worked in the hospital on-site within the Hogar where we assisted in feeding, changing and bathing the patients. During the afternoons, we journeyed into the local hospital of Cotoca- Hospital Municipal Virgen de Cotoca, where we rotated between A&E, the maternity ward and internal medicine units. Here, we were given the opportunity to observe and carry out minor procedures such as suturing. This placement was a giant lesson in the Spanish language! No one in the town we lived in spoke English! So we spoke Spanish 24/7! Working with people with learning disabilities gave me a greater appreciation of communicating with others- the locals we worked with and the patients especially. It was an invaluable experience in learning about Medicine in a country very different from my own.

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Monday- Friday 7:30- work at the hospital in the Hogar 10:00- Morning break 11:00- Wound cleaning 12:00- Lunch 13:00- Work at the Hospital in Cotoca 17:00- return to the Hogar for dinner and free time Weekends Free time! We spent the weekends travelling and exploring Bolivia! We went to the Cathedral in Santa Cruz and also travelled to the iconic Salar de Uyuni and went swimming in the hot springs of Roboré! We even took a trip to Guembe- a park where we saw many parrots! We were always given the opportunity to taste Bolivian food! My favourite I have to say is the salteña! A delicious pie-like delicacy with chicken/beef stewed in a wonderful soup. Pique Macho was also a crowd favourite amongst us interns. We often travelled with the IAESTE Bolivia Committee who organised the trips for us and became good friends with. They were great in helping us in our Spanish.


Going to Bolivia was a very eye-opening experience. It was here that I rediscovered my love for the Spanish language! It gave me a deeper appreciation for Latin America and its people. I was amazed by what I saw in the local hospital. There were many conditions I had never come across such as Chaga's disease which is very endemic in Bolivia. I was amazed by the resourcefulness of the hospital workers despite how underfunded their healthcare system was. Communication was always a challenge. Despite the language barrier, I was amazed at how we were still able to communicate with the locals through body language and actions if we didn't understand them. The experience re lit my passion for medicine as it showed me that my true passion was always in helping others- no matter what language they speak.

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