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.