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The following stories are from current or past medical students who have participated in health related service projects.

I went to Cusco, Peru the summer between my 1st and 2nd years of medical school. I spent six weeks volunteering and two weeks sightseeing. I stayed with a host family for the six weeks I volunteered so I could better learn about the Spanish language and culture. I celebrated my birthday, Peruvian independence day, and religious holidays with them. I volunteered in a children's home for kids with disabilities in the mornings where I gained experience with everything from seeing them with the doctors to helping them eat breakfast and get ready for school. In the afternoons, I saw patients at a hospital clinic attached to the children's home. When the hospital and children's home had to shut its doors to volunteers due to rapidly spreading H1N1 flu, I worked in a women's clinic and got hands-on experience doing pelvic exams and looking at swabs under the microscope. This experience gave me the opportunity to learn about other cultures, practice medical skills, and study rare diseases.
Mallory Miller mmiller2@siumed.edu