Medicine in Romania

Work experience at ICS is a key part of our International Baccalaureate. It counts towards the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) component of the IB. CAS gives students the opportunity to plan, execute and reflect on a trip or activity.

At half term, two ICS Diploma students spent time in a children's hospital in Romania. The visit would give them an insight into a different culture. They also discovered that they would have an access-all-areas pass. What they saw would stay with them forever.

The students went to Brasov Pediatric Hospital. They were in small groups so met other students from different countries. The highlight of the trip was the time they could spend in surgery. This would not have been possible here in England. It was a noisy, messy place where lives were often saved in harsh conditions.

Hard lessons

The chief surgeon running the hospital had seen a lot. He worked in an under-invested system. He explained to our students how he felt he had to become slightly detached from the patients. Our students empathised with his position. Seeing so much suffering must have been hard to take.

Our two pupils had to reflect at the end of each day. Underfunded hospitals can cause distress. Our students met with the programme organisers each day to review the daily events. They used reflection strategies IB students develop as part of our programme. They also used their inquiry skills in organising their day. There was a freedom to their visit as one of our students describes here:

‘It taught me how to communicate with people, to make myself succinct. We didn’t have our teachers, so we had to interact with real people in real life. They wouldn’t answer your question if you didn’t ask.’

I see what you mean

In overcoming the language barrier they had to develop their communication skills. Their time in the lab was one of the most interesting parts of the visit. The lab doctor shared his passion for his job. As there was no was way to communicate verbally, he drew lots of pictures. The students could look through his microscopes, opening up new worlds to see.

It was a tough experience. Both students said they will continue with their journey into medicine. And to see how a hospital functions on limited funds has inspired our students to fight for our hospitals.

Ben Toettcher