India Initiative Internship – Week 2, Hardships, and Thoughts

So a second week has passed during my internship here.  And honestly, while it was hectic initially, I’m finally getting the hang of not just how things work at Columbia Asia Hospital in the Yeshwantpur location, but also in Bangalore.  My beginning expectations of what I’d be doing at the hospital involved me doing half of an observership and half of helping out with clinical research, of which I thought would involve more data collection from various patients at the hospital.  While the observership portion is pretty accurate to what I initially thought I’d be doing (seeing doctors on rounds, looking at surgeries, witnessing physicals and doctor-patient interactions), helping with the clinical research/data collection part has actually been more of an exercise with Excel and coding than I initially anticipated.  As a result, I had to ask my tech savvy Dad back in the U.S. for help with some portions, but ultimately I think it was a worthwhile project that let me get familiar with what macros are and use those to work with actual patient data collected, which was pretty cool.

Among the locals I’ve met so far, there’s my landlady and her family (a really kind and helpful host family to me who I honestly don’t deserve) and the doctors/physician assistants at the hospital that I observe and work with.  While it was initially somewhat intimidating to interact with them and find out more about their lives, I’ve overtime learned more about who they are and how they got into the positions they’re at in the hospital.  For example, a women who is a current physician assistant actually used to be a software engineer until she had her son.  As a result, she had to take up a different job where she was allowed more time to be with him as a mom.  Another doctor, who is from Ethiopia, is actually doing a fellowship here before going to the UK and then going back to Ethiopia to become a specialist for liver and pancreatic diseases for the people there.  Meeting all of these individuals make me realize the kind of sacrifices that have to be made by everyone in order to make their lives and the lives of people they care about really fulfilling and meaningful, whether it’s inside medicine or outside of it.

I haven’t had a really bad mess-up in my internship, but there was a time when I was trying to go home where my phone battery died and I spent that past hour trying to use one of the outlets to charge it while running the Uber and OLA (aka Indian Uber) apps.  That didn’t work not only cause the outlets I was using had variable amounts of power, but also because the Uber drivers cancelled my ride back home four times due to rain and because my phone is a Samsung Galaxy 3 that has seen some things.  I finally fixed this problem by simply asking one of the hospital staff if they could call an Uber/OLA for me, and that problem was solved in around 15 more minutes.  Ultimately, I realized the toil of dealing with not only low battery life, but also with traffic conditions in India.  And how if I need to plan ahead, I really need to do it ahead of schedule….like, by an hour ahead of schedule at least.

One thought on “India Initiative Internship – Week 2, Hardships, and Thoughts

  • May 16, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    It’s good to hear that you have met with local community professionals and started building relationships. These relationships will prove priceless especially in situations like the phone battery experience that you mentioned. I hope that planning more in advance improves your experiences with commuting!


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