Cape Town Reflection

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Ghelila Masico, CAS ’20

My experience in Cape Town has not only been eye-opening but has allowed me to reach clarity in the pursuit of a career. Prior to interning in Cape Town, I was greatly confused as to what career path to pursue, for I was juggling between selecting the administrative or the clinical aspect of healthcare. The prospect of interning in South Africa was worrying to say the least for I did not know what to expect in terms of my work and life dynamic. After having surfed the internet for an understanding of South African culture and history I was, instead, inundated with articles on the rising crime rates and the prevalence of diseases. Naturally, I was concerned, especially considering I would be interning in a hospital, an environment where airborne illnesses are to run rampant if appropriate preventative measures are not enforced. These concerns were put to rest as soon as I set foot in Cape Town. As I walked the streets of Towne, I came across people who were nothing but welcoming and hospitable. Many Cape Tonians took time out of their busy schedules to engage in conversations revolving around topics that like healthcare and the lasting implications of apartheid.

My concern regarding health was also put to rest after having been introduced to my internship supervisor, Dr. Clint Cupido, an internal medicine doctor at Victoria Hospital. He informed me about the strict preventative measures being implemented within the hospital and the new health initiatives introduced into the South African healthcare system. Throughout my internship at Victoria Hospital I was able to involve myself in several projects that span different fields of medicine. Initially I was placed under the Cardiology department where I was expected to assist with Cardiac Rehab Program, a program aimed at educating heart attack and stroke patients on their conditions and possible methods to improve their lifestyles. Here, I was not only able to interact with patients, but also put my cardiology knowledge to test by constructing and presenting presentations on transient ischemic attacks. After this 4 week program came to an end, I joined Abundant Life, a palliative care program aimed at improving the quality of life for terminally ill patients. After having joined Abundant Life’s dynamic team, I was given the opportunity of participating in weekly home visits where I was able to visit and assess these patients in the comfort of their homes. Accompanied with a doctor and a nurse, I was able to interact with these patients and take notes on their medications, symptoms, and conditions.

My internship placement has given me the opportunity to experience, first hand, the clinical world of healthcare. I not only participated in ward rounds, ICU visits, and medical workshops, but I was also able to gain an understanding of the South African healthcare system. This experienced reaffirmed my passion for eliminating health disparities by actively working within the clinical healthcare field. I was also able to develop emotionally and professionally for I became a more versatile and well rounded person. I believe that this journey has given me both personal and professional clarity.  

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.