Sunday, 3 June 2012

El Verano

A week from today, I leave for London to begin a long journey to Colombia. I have become used to look of concern that crosses people's faces when I tell them about my plans. I can almost visualise the word "cocaine" buzzing around inside their heads. They appear even more worried when I tell them I'm travelling alone. 

The thing is, a very generous friend-of-the-family has offered me the chance to stay with her family in her home country of Colombia. I will be working with one of her relatives who is a doctor, I won't have to worry about paying for accommodation and a member of her family will always be close by. There's no way I would turn down an opportunity like that. Despite all my anxiety and worries, I'm starting to look forward to my trip more and more as the leaving date approaches. It's still a bit of a mystery as to what I'll actually be able to see and do in the hospitals over there but I hope I can offer as much assistance as I can and learn lots of new things. Also, during the weekends I will have the opportunity to explore the country. From my own research I have found that Colombia is a beautiful, diverse country with everything from cloud forests to active volcanoes. This will be a entirely new experience for me and I'm very excited!
"Santuario de las Lajas" would be an incredible place to visit!

However, my biggest worry is definitely the language barrier. I have been learning Spanish for about two years and still have a long way to go. A fair number of people in the bigger cities will speak English, including professional workers such as doctors, but I will also be travelling to a much smaller city. It is unlikely that many of the staff in the local hospital will speak English. Yikes. One thing I'll need to get used to very quickly is stepping out of my comfort zone and really trying to improve my Spanish while I'm over there. I was, however, comforted when I heard that these hospitals are used to accepting medical students that want to do work experience during their summer holidays or who decided to do their elective in Colombia. So hopefully being shadowed by a young person that speaks only basic Spanish will not be a new experience for the staff!

I'm so grateful that I have been given this amazing opportunity by such a kind family friend so I intend to make the very most out of this trip. It's also taken a hefty chunk out of my bank account! It's unlikely that I'll post again before I leave but when  return I will type up some of my experiences and share them here.

¡Hasta luego!