Andreas from Germany, Medical Student:
From October 5th, 2019 to February 1st, 2020, I completed a four-month stay abroad in Tanzania. World Unite! supported me with the organization of my stay, as well as with accommodation and a language course. World Unite! was also there when it came to organizing leisure activities and trips through the country.
World Unite! arranged my elective at a hospital in Mwanza, in the north-east of Tanzania. I arrived a week before the elective officially started, got picked up from the airport and brought to my accommodation. For the time of my elective I lived in the “Serengeti Guest House” near the hospital. I had Witness, as a coordinator and contact person on site, whom I would particularly like to praise here. She showed me the city on my first days, explained a lot about the culture and the people in Tanzania and taught Swahili through a language course. I am very grateful to her for her commitment, which made my transition into this new situation easy.
I completed my elective from October 14th until December 8th 2019 at Bugando Medical Center. The circumstances on site cannot be compared with the standards that I knew from Germany, but that was precisely why the time there was an important experience for me and taught me many new lessons – both medically and above all socially.
I completed a total of 5 weeks in surgery and spent 3 weeks in internal medicine. Although you are legally not allowed to do a lot of practical work yourself, you still learn a lot about diseases that rarely occur in Germany, such as malaria, schistosomiasis, HIV / AIDS and tuberculosis. You don’t only get to know another health care system, but you also learn to appreciate your own significantly more. The fates of some of the patients can sometimes be very moving and unfortunately, you cannot help all, as only a small proportion of patients are lucky to have health insurance.
I was part at the ward rounds, meetings and trainings. The tasks in the OR were often limited to holding hooks or smaller wound sutures. At the ward I was able to carry out minor medical activities such as taking blood samples, placing catheters, etc. The classic physical examination plays an important role in Tanzania, due to often lacking diagnostic equipment. They are very well trained in this and you can learn a lot from the doctors. Especially at the internal medicine ward, I was heavily involved in the therapy planning and was able to interpret findings (EKGs, heart echos, chest X-ray, etc.).
For me, the elective was very valuable because it allowed an insight into a different health system, a different culture and the department of tropical medicine.
After my elective, I traveled for two months. World Unite! was also able to help me here. A Safari and tours to Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro were able to organize with Budget Safari. Here I would like to praise Adelina in particular, who coordinated all the participants’ activities reliably and was always available. I would also like to mention Ferdinand and his team, who enabled me to be part of breathtaking mountain tours. Tanzania offers such a very broad variety of experiences. You have the magnificent wildlife and beautiful mountains but also fantastic sandy beaches on Zanzibar.
The Tanzanians have a distinctly different culture to us Germans. Everything is a little more relaxed and a little slower (“polepole”) and often things simply take more time than we are used to. Nevertheless, people are very warm and hospitable when you open yourself to their culture. My time in Tanzania was an enormous personal enrichment and broadened my horizon immensely.
I can recommend a stay in Tanzania to everyone who wants to gain a different view on the world. The country and people are so interesting and I appreciate my time in Mwanza. World Unite! proofed to be a reliable organization at all times. I had a dedicated contact person throughout my stay, both during my time in Mwanza and afterwards while traveling. Particularly during these early days, I was very happy to know locals who showed me around and helped me organize so many things.
Andreas arranged his medical elective through World Unite!, a specialist provider for medical electives and internships in nursing, therapies and midwifery in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Click here to read more about Andreas’ placement and learn how to apply for your own elective in Tanzania.