“My name is Vadim Karcha and I spent a month in Nepal. The first week was culture immersion week where all the volunteers from various placements spent a week in the volunteer center/house adapting and learning about Nepali culture. This week included exploring the local area, hiking, yoga, learning language, culture, history, religion and Nepali customs. We all got Nepali names, mine was Vishnu. I learned random things that I would have never known such as whistling indoors and sleeping on top of your blanket is considered bad luck and the swastika in Nepal means good luck. Some challenges the first week were getting used to the food and communicating with the locals. Successes were meeting many new volunteers from different countries and seeing and learning about such a fascinating country.
The following week I finally got to start my placement, which was the Medical internship, where I stayed for the next 3 weeks. The internship took place in Stupa Community Hospital. Seeing this hospital kind of blew my mind at first because of how unsanitary everything was compared to U.S. hospitals, but after spending time there and realizing that this is what they have and what they have to make work I was more understanding. Most of the time I spent was with the gastrointestinal doctor because he was the hospitals primary doctor. We got to observe many endoscopy’s with him, and many tuberculosis cases which you do not normally see in the U.S. My favorite part was when we got to observe surgeries. I got to see the removal of a gall bladder, the removal of two abscess and a radius fracture repair. Normally with a developed country the first two surgeries are done laparoscopically, but since that kind of technology isn’t available in developing countries the patients had to be cut open. The best part for a future medical student like myself was that I got to be right at the table standing next to the surgeons as they performed their surgeries. A challenge at the hospital was that the doctors communicate in Nepali and when they do explain things in English it is sometimes difficult to understand. My only wish is that there was some hands on experience for volunteers.”