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I saved someone from drowning during my stay. ‘The reactions and gratitude afterwards were unbelievable and I couldn’t believe how quickly the news spread’, says student Bram Sorel. He set off for a work placement at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in Banjul in 2011.

For me, on a physical therapy programme, the work placement abroad made sense because no matter where you go, you have to learn to help people with the resources at your disposal. The two most important ‘devices’ you can always use are your hands. It’s therefore important to be creative in your therapy and at the same time help people in a professional way.

The difference between a work placement at home and one in the South lies in the level of appreciation. There is much more appreciation for what you do with the people. There, people come to ask for help when they really have no alternative and often it is already too late by then to effect much improvement, although this actually increases the challenge, i.e. to nevertheless make as great an improvement as possible to enable people to live independently.

I would definitely recommend a work placement abroad to others. It is an amazing life experience where you learn to be creative and assertive. You meet new people and when you come back, everyone is jealous that they didn’t do it themselves!

Bram Sorel - First Master’s in Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences (VUB)

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