Birth Institute

Birth Institute

About

Birth Institute partners with established birth clinics and professional midwives to provide leadership and midwifery training opportunities abroad. Through a combination of clinical rotations, book study and community projects, participants develop the skills necessary to become the future leaders of positive change in maternal healthcare. Our programs are designed to help students explore holistic health, maternal health stewardship, community development and women-centered advocacy.

We are looking for applicants who want to have a positive impact on the future of maternal health worldwide, who will actively take part in a rigorous training and who will engage thoughtfully in a critical dialogue about the state of our world and the state of maternal health worldwide.

Founded
2011

Reviews

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Candece
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I discovered Birth Institute only a month before I left for Bali. When I found the Study Abroad program, I knew it was for me, and I am truly grateful that the Birth Institute team was able to accept me into the program and have everything so efficiently organized in such a short period of time! On the very first day arriving at Madani (the Birth Centre), all the midwives gathered and welcomed me into their community, I felt immediately safe and at home. Living on site was perfect because Madani is always opened for women and families, so learning opportunities are 24/7. The Birth Centre definitely kept me busy throughout my whole three months in the country and my biggest challenge was learning to balance time between studies, being with women, and relaxation! On my time off I loved taking the scooter out (students are welcome to use and share) for some fresh air and to explore Bali. Madani is only a short ride to beautiful beaches, Ubud and cosy cafes. Gentle love, gentle birth... this was my very first experience of midwifery, I had such an incredible and inspiring time that I decided to further continue my studies with Birth Institute -- I am now one of the students studying Holistic Midwifery!

What would you improve about this program?
Communication with the midwives and the local families was difficult as I did not prepare myself enough before arrival. I would encourage future students to learn at least some basic Indonesian before commencing the program, this will make a huge difference for your learning experience!

I really enjoyed having a preceptor on site for the second half of my program, and hope future students will continue to receive support for their experience as well!
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Ivy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Day one in Guatemala I questioned my decision to go. I was scared, alone (because I arrived 2 days before the course was to start), and I was shell shocked by the overwhelming feeling of having to communicate with only limited Spanish that I had from high school courses. But I toughed out that first night and it was the best decision that I ever made. I arrived in Guatemala as a nurse with a slight interest in maternal health. I left Guatemala as a midwife in training, with applications sent out to midwifery schools across Canada. This course absolutely changed the way I thought about pregnancy, childbirth, and women's health. The online course work was light, often leaving us with questions, but the course coordinators were more than willing to supplement our learning with more lectures, readings, or videos. The aspect of this program that made course so memorable were the practical experiences. We were able to see first hand how a women's health clinic with limited resources was able to drastically improve the health of a population of women. We were able to learn about family planning, cervical exams, and prenatal exams. Being present for births was only a small part of this program, but of course an amazing one. I learned so much about natural childbirth that focuses on the woman and her family. Looking back on this experience, I would do it all over again 50 times if I could. It was a life changing course for me, and I will have a relationship with the women that I met there for the rest of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
The online portion of the course was lighter than I expected. If I was to change something about this course I would make the course work more thorough, covering more topics in each section.
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Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Candece Tu

Candece is 26 year-old, she was born in Taiwan and grew up in Australia. She is a Registered Nurse living in Brisbane, and is currently studying Holistic Midwifery with Birth Institute.
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Did you run into a language barrier? Did you ever think you knew more/less of the language?

Yes! I found Birth Institute and the Bali program only a month before my departure date, so did not have very much time to prepare myself enough for the language.

Most of the women and families in our community did not speak English, and of course, all the communication between midwives and families were in Bahasa Indonesia!

I definitely encourage all the students who will be coming on to this program to at least learn basic language before arrival.

This will be incredibly helpful for your interaction and learning experience at the Birth Centre/community (you can better focus on your learning goals), and also for your everyday life on the island!

What was the best place you visited outside of your home-base city?

Once I got over my fears and found the courage to learn riding the Scooter, I was often found out and about exploring! My absolute favorite place to calm the mind was Canggu, which is a relaxing little coastal village about 15-20 minutes ride from our Birth Centre.

The ocean always the perfect temperature, and the waves are beautiful for surfing. There are a few cute and cozy Western cafes along the street where you can study/read/catch up with the world on social media with fast(er) internet.

If you get a chance, I recommend getting a refreshing Betelnut smoothie from Betelnut café! We have left a copy of Lonely Planet’s Bali travel guide at the clinic’s library for future students and teachers – make the best of it!

What made this experience unique and special?

What I loved most about my experience was that I felt right at home from day one. The midwives were sweet, welcoming, and always very helpful.

Despite the language barrier, we laughed, learnt together and supported each other like Sisters. The local Balinese people are very spiritual with their daily practices, it was always very fascinating and heart-warming learning about their sacred rituals and traditions around life, death, pregnancy and birth.

There is a Women’s Circle in Ubud that we enjoyed attending every Wednesday evening, this was our opportunity to take a break from the busy Birth Centre, meet other Sisters from all around the world, and to explore healing and empowerment in a nurturing space. If you’re interested, feel free to join the Sacred Sisterhood Facebook page for weekly updates!

Describe your favorite must-have food that you tried abroad.

There is a food stand just across the busy road from our clinic (in front of the supermarket) that sells Terang Bulan (translation: Bright Moon) – some people call it the King of Indonesian street food!

Terang bulan is basically the Indonesian version of pancake, except they are thicker, fluffier, creamier and very, very chewy! You can practice your Bahasa Indonesia each time you select your own mountains of fillings – mine often consisted of chocolate, banana, peanut butter flakes and condensed milk.

Terang Bulan used to be my weekly guilty pleasure, each box will give you 8 big slices – perfect to share with the midwives (although they will most likely say no to the treats, knowing how heavy they are… but hey, nothing an island coconut can’t fix!)!

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