A blue statue in India

Kolkata is an experience

Kolkata is an experience

A month in Kolkata is an experience. It is an adventure involving human relations, cultural shocks, and language barriers. And not to forget, an opportunity to get lost in the amazing and lively Indian culture.

With IIMC, it’s important not to arrive with the expectation of saving the world. Because you will not. But this project is a small part of the puzzle to make the world become a better place. For you this is an incredible opportunity to observe a very well-functioning human development project; to see the wide spectrum of people who benefit from the project, and to meet the local volunteers who keep this project going. Some of them were even on the receiving end of help just a couple of years before. The project renews and recycles itself.

As the volunteers are changing every month, the locals are the perennial part of the project. Like many others, I faced the question: does my presence here matter? Dr. Sujit has had this question many times before and he had a good answer: the foreign volunteers are the catalyst to keep the chemical reaction that is IIMC going. The volunteers are also there to show the poor people of Kolkata that the world cares about their situation.

But to me this month was most important for me as a person. It is not what I brought to Kolkata but what I learned. I got to practice some easy medical procedures but the main experience was all the wonderful and strong people I met from all over the world. I will always carry this adventure with me in my future medical career and personal development.

P.S. Pro tip if going:
Always bring a snack. You never know how long a meeting will last. It is better to be ready for anything and to keep the blood sugar stable. D.S.

Pernilla Stam, Medical student T3, Lund
IIMC volunteer August 2017