International Citizenship Experience (ICE), India - Day 1

As Cardiff Sixth Form College's International Citzenship Experience (ICE) programme launches in India, aspiring medical student Sito Etiebet shares an insight into her first day in Pune.

With an early rise, we ICE medics grabbed the morning by its horns. Despite the luxury and class that the beautiful Hyatt Hotel offered us through their bedrooms, facilities and breakfast, we were able to set off to and arrive at the Rao Nursing Hospital at 8:00 a.m.

The early bird truly does get the worm. I discovered this truth as we, after an especially warm Indian welcome, came face-to-face with some of the best medics in India and the eponymous Dr. Rao, an award-winning medical doctor. We were soon introduced to the hospital's medics and given a tour around the building.

As Dr. Rao's casual hospitality put us at ease, it was clear that we all began to engage actively with him and the other medics and began to understand what we were privileged to witness on only the introductory day of the trip.

We were taken to various departments namely Opthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology (ENT), Orthopaedics, Gynaecology, Psychiatry, Counselling and many others.

In addition, we had the opportunity to take a look inside an intensive care unit within the premises and witness two small-scale surgeries: lumbarlaminectomy (removal of a vertebra in the lower back) and angioplasty (repair of coronary arteries).

Following this, we were given a lunch break and then taken to Vanchit Vikas, a daycare institute that gives children of prostitutes a place to stay during the daytime, whilst participating in fulfilling activities. I particularly enjoyed the time we spent with the kids as, although it was clear that they didn't have much, I easily realised (despite the language barrier) that they were unusually special and were probably the most intelligent and lively kids that I've ever met.

On the drive back to Hyatt Hotel, enthralled by a traditional Indian festival occurring on the street, we all seemed to have some sort of satisfaction with the day's events and could barely wait for our next medically and/or culturally significant experience.

Picture opposite shows Sito (third from left) with fellow CSFC students and staff on the first day of the ICE programme in Pune, India.