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St Joseph’s University student embraces her time as a medical intern in Sri Lanka

Lena Finucane

Twenty-two-year-old Lena Finucane, a recent graduate from St. Joseph’s University, decided to participate in Care and Medical Projects in Sri Lanka with Projects Abroad for two months. “I wanted to see how medicine is practiced in another country while helping people. Sri Lanka stood out as I have been there in my childhood,” she stated.

“I was placed initially at Dutch Anne Pre-school with around 25 kids from the Tsunami Village. I helped the kids with the different classroom exercises, assisted the teachers, and played with the children. The kids were really cute and I liked them so much. I had not worked with the kids before, so this experience was unforgettable,” said Lena about her care placement.

She then moved on to Panadura Base Hospital for her medical placement.

“At the hospital I was able to work closely with the patients. I was basically shadowing the doctors during ward rounds and helping out the people in the hospital,” she said. “Working in the hospital made me realize how excited I am to become a nurse and help patients back in the states.”

“Apart from the experience, I have gained knowledge on the health care system in Sri Lanka and some tropical diseases which I got to know at the hospital. This overall experience will surely be helpful when I begin working as a nurse in the states,”Lena stated

Lena Finucane

Apart from the usual work at the placements, Lena also participated in several medical camps and medical awareness programs organized by Projects Abroad. “At the medical camps I had the opportunity to check the blood sugar levels and blood pressure of the patients. I could interact with so many patients within a single day. At the medical awareness programs, we talked and role played about avoidable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure with Sri Lankan school kids.”

Talking about the cultural differences, she said, “I am happy that I could adapt so well to some of the conditions and live with modest facilities. I like the simple life style in Sri Lanka.”

Lena Finucane

“Don’t be surprised to see cows on the road and random people coming up to you to ask where you are from; Sri Lankan people are inquisitive yet so friendly. I noticed people eat with their hands instead of spoons and forks. I also liked the fruit and coconut stalls along the roads in Sri Lanka,” Lena added.

To future volunteers, she advises them to come with an open mind, “Time goes by in Sri Lanka so quickly; you should be open to anything. Apart from the usual work, I enjoyed traveling around the country; Sri Lanka has so many places to visit. So take your chances and enjoy your life.”

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