Tata Medical Center: Week 1

Finding our Feet

By Joe and Milou

Namaste readers!

We, Joe and Milou, will kick off the blog about our GEO experiences.

Joe – I am a 21 year old student at Newcastle University where I have just completed second year economics.

Milou – I am 26 years old and I am from Groningen in the Netherlands. I have a MSc. in Business Administration and will complete my MSc. in Economics with a specialization in Health Economics this summer. We came here together with Lydia and Elena, who will introduce themselves next week.

Our internship is at Tata Medical Center (TMC) in Kolkata, India. TMC is a non-profit hospital that focuses completely on cancer. At TMC, they treat patients, conduct research, and provide palliative care. 70% of all patients are treated for free, or at a reduced rate, because they do not have health insurance. Patients come here from all over India, and also from neighbouring countries.


In the six weeks of our internship, we will basically work on three projects: The first one focuses on improving the TMC website. The second one focuses on creating training modules for staff to educate them on topics such as fire safety, evacuation plans and infection control. We will do this project together with two Indian students from a local college. In the third project we will research the perceived quality and cost-effectiveness of the end-of-life facility of TMC.



Joe – I chose to do this internship mainly because I wanted to gain experience in the wide range of activities that this internship entails. Such as experience in research, workplace behavior and techniques in a different culture. Furthermore the opportunity to explore India was a bonus incentive. Whilst I am not completely sure about what I want to do after university, I do know that the research based and analytical nature of this internship will most likely be highly applicable to my future career. Therefore providing me with valuable insight into what type of application of these skills I may find most interesting.

Milou – I chose to take part in the internship primarily because I want to find out if working in a hospital is something I want to do after the summer, when I will start looking for a job. Additionally, it was always a dream of mine to spend some time in a country with a very different culture, since I think that this can give me very useful insights on how to adapt to different cultures and customs.

Both of us had not been in India before and we landed here into a completely different culture than we are used to. At first, we experienced some difficulties. Especially, with getting internet and an Indian sim card. Luckily, our supervisor and the Indian interns helped us out and it is all sorted now. However, we are quickly adapting to it and start to feel at home already.  Not least because of the housekeepers at the guesthouse who are always trying to cater to us.


The first week has been very enjoyable. Both the exciting environment at the hospital and the evenings spent exploring Kolkata have been completely different to past experiences. India has lived up to the expectations of a congested city centre and terrifying car journeys with cows and water buffalo’s on the roads, which definitely adds to the charm.



Whilst having had a busy first week, our projects are only just getting started after a few days of adjustment and finding our feet. We will provide updates on our work in coming blogs. For now we have plans that include a day observing the palliative care hospital with the aim of process mapping a patient’s journey so that we can analyse efficiency and costs.