ESP Internship Stories
Laura in Ghana
Laura Russo just came back to Amsterdam from her physiotherapy internship in Accra, Ghana and she wanted to share her adventures! Looking for some inspiration and tips for your next internship? You might find it right here!
How did you find out about this clinic?
” I would love for more students to step outside of their comfort zone and volunteer their time in Africa”
World PT Day, September 8
Laura’s story is published on World PT, because both her story and the themes of World PT Day can hopefully inspire you as current or future physio! The WCPT has created the infographic below about the 2019 theme: Chronic Pain
There are so many memories here it is hard to pick just one. What made this experience overall were the people, especially my patients and physiotherapist team. From the start, everyone was so accommodating and kind and wanted to make sure that I experience Ghana the right way. It can be intimidating as a foreigner coming into a community where you are the minority in a culture tied so strongly to its’ roots. When I walk down the street people are constantly shouting “Hey Obroni! How are you?” Obroni means foreigner and this greeting is totally friendly and a natural way to say hi to someone from overseas. At work, I’ll never forget my colleagues ordering all sorts of Ghanaian foods for me the first and watching my reaction because everything here is spicy, but delicious. In return I showed them what hummus, guacamole, quinoa and stroopwafels are!!! They loved the stroopwafels. There was also a time when a patient invited me over for a coffee on a Sunday afternoon, and I showed up to a feast of homemade Ghanaian cuisine and over 30 of her family members came! Oh, and I’ll never forget the bring orange walls and printed curtains all over the clinic.
I also fundraised and raised over 600 euros for school supplies at a local school. That was an unforgettable experience and I’m hoping to continue it next year.
As Laura mentioned, ESP has a great connection to Ghana. From 2000 until today, 24 students from Ghana graduated from ESP or the GPEP, the program designed for students from Ghana. This group photo is actually from 2002! Can you recognize some people?
Students were taken into the extended family, the core value of ESP, yet the graduation ceremony was held in Ghana! Coming from Ghana to Amsterdam to study was culture shock for many students. Coming from Amsterdam to Ghana, was at least a great temperature shock for many lecturers…
Check the WPCT website for more interesting details on Ghana and physiotherapy
I love going to the lively markets during my free time and buying local foods like mango, papaya, plantains, yam, chiles, but also fabrics and clothes. I’ve definitely developed my bargaining skills. I’ve also spent time rock climbing, going to the gym and working out with some of the local personal trainers. I’ve learned to cook some local dishes too, like banku, fufu, and okro stew. I traveled to surrounding villages to see historic slave trade castles, jungles, and mountains. Since I speak french I found my niche at the French Alliance in Accra. There is a large community of French speakers here since Ghana is surrounded by 3 francophone countries, Togo, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso.