Best volunteering abroad programs for summer (Maybe India?)

brideofwalken

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Can anyone who has gone on a volunteering program abroad tell me which one they went on and how they liked it? I really want to go volunteer in India; maybe at like an orphanage. What kind of volunteer work is best for a student who is thinking of being pre-med?

I'm a junior in college but just decided to go back to pre-med after having a horrible try at it and ending it freshman year.
 

silverhorse84

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I went through Operations Crossroads Africa, which is, of course, in various countries in Africa. I loved it - spent two months in a very very rural area of Kenya doing vitals, histories, immunizations, and helping med students with exams. :)

Obviously they don't go to India, and I'm sure there are volunteer organizations that do. This is just the one that I know well. :)
 

migm

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One thing that I heard over and over again from people sitting way up high on admissions committees (including one that sits on the adcom for washu) is that they are far more impressed with you staying in your city and going into the ****ty parts of town and performing community service there.

Everyone goes abroad to east jujukistan and helps the people in need there while ignoring the need in their own zip code. Why wouldn't you stay home and do something in your own community, in your own country, where plenty of help is needed?

Think about it
 
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Emmet2301

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One thing that I heard over and over again from people sitting way up high on admissions committees (including one that sits on the adcom for washu) is that they are far more impressed with you staying in your city and going into the ****ty parts of town and performing community service there.

Everyone goes abroad to east jujukistan and helps the people in need there while ignoring the need in their own zip code. Why wouldn't you stay home and do something in your own community, in your own country, where plenty of help is needed?

Think about it

Usually the people in other countries are in more need than the people here. I plan to volunteer in both areas, here in my city and abroad.
 

susearzt

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Child Family Health International (cfhi.org) has month-long service-learning programs around the world. I did a program in Quito, Ecuador over a year ago (omg, it's been that long, lol) and absolutely loved it. They give you language instruction on-site as well and the spanish skills I gained (including lots of medical spanish) have been immensely helpful at the free clinic I volunteer at here in the states (I was a german minor, oh well). Anyways, It was a great program, very well organized, including alumni ambassadors that can act as liaisons between the students and the program coordinators.
 

UNMorBUST

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One thing that I heard over and over again from people sitting way up high on admissions committees (including one that sits on the adcom for washu) is that they are far more impressed with you staying in your city and going into the ****ty parts of town and performing community service there.

Everyone goes abroad to east jujukistan and helps the people in need there while ignoring the need in their own zip code. Why wouldn't you stay home and do something in your own community, in your own country, where plenty of help is needed?

Think about it
Well there are people in need of help everywhere. Sure long term in your community may be looked more highly upon. Many people like myself want to travel, learn new cultures, as well as help people that don't normally get help as often as here in the states.
 

WaterBird

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i would guess, like anything else, you should look for something that:

a) looks interesting to you
b) is longer term....and shows commitment, and that you faced issues rather than just having a cookie cutter experience
c) you'll be able to talk intelligently about later

So if you like kids, sure, go work in an orphanage. But also consider whether or not any given program will have room for creativity/innovation/leadership/other medschool buzzwords.
 

redbull928

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Can anyone who has gone on a volunteering program abroad tell me which one they went on and how they liked it? I really want to go volunteer in India; maybe at like an orphanage. What kind of volunteer work is best for a student who is thinking of being pre-med?

I'm a junior in college but just decided to go back to pre-med after having a horrible try at it and ending it freshman year.

The best volunteer work for a pre-med is to mentor disadvantaged kids. Many pre-meds (myself included) are so self-absorbed that being exposed to those who don't even dream about their futures will immensely help them come back to earth.
 

BlueElmo

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My question is, are these types of programs where you go abroad on medical mission trips really worth it for admissions? I mean, how much weight do adcoms give it?
I went to Honduras last summer on a mission trip, and although I enjoyed it and it was rewarding, it was really expensive.

I'm not sure if it is worth going again. I would go if I knew for sure that it's looked on very favorably by adcoms. Anybody know?

I hope I don't sound like a typical pre-med kid, but the fact is my last trip was REALLY expensive.
 

Timberwolf

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Child Family Health International (cfhi.org) has month-long service-learning programs around the world. I did a program in Quito, Ecuador over a year ago (omg, it's been that long, lol) and absolutely loved it. They give you language instruction on-site as well and the spanish skills I gained (including lots of medical spanish) have been immensely helpful at the free clinic I volunteer at here in the states (I was a german minor, oh well). Anyways, It was a great program, very well organized, including alumni ambassadors that can act as liaisons between the students and the program coordinators.

I would also recommend CFHI. I too went to Quito (coincidentally also with a German background) and had a great time. I know CFHI also runs a program to India that you might be interested in. These programs are more about the whole experience than just hard-core volunteering work, and the cost is reasonable. I could've volunteered across the street and taught myself Spanish, but how fun would that have been?
 

haroldandkumar

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Two places I can recommend:

The Community Rural Health Project - Jamkhed, Maharashtra (google it)
They offer a training course to students from the University of Melbourne in January, but if you pester them, they'll let you join in, the caveat being that it is pricy by Indian standards at $25/day (they also have numerous other training courses around the year).

Although this is not a "volunteer" program, it will provide you with great exposure. Plus, let's face it, foreign volunteers who don't speak the language (I assume you don't speak any Indian languages) can contribute very little in the short run, so it's best to regard this trip as something you're doing for your own betterment (and there's nothing wrong with that!).


Asha Project - New Delhi

Another community health project that actually has volunteer positions. You'll need to pester them over email though.


Feel free to PM me. I've been working in public health in India for the last year.
 

RSAgator

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Usually the people in other countries are in more need than the people here. I plan to volunteer in both areas, here in my city and abroad.

Well if you are as noble as you sound and "just want to help people," why not donate the $1500+ you'd spend on a ticket abroad to some charitable organization and then volunteer in your area? That way you get to help people everywhere! :rolleyes:

To the OP, traveling abroad for volunteer opportunities sounds awesome, and coming from someone whose spent a lot of time abroad traveling in general is just incredible. However, as someone mentioned people need help everywhere, and while there are incredible volunteer opportunities abroad there are incredible opportunities at home as well. Now obviously going abroad you get to experience an entirely different culture/way of life, but in my mind it's also important to enjoy one's experience abroad as an experience abroad rather than an opportunity to better the world. Obviously the two aren't mutually exclusive, but if you're traveling halfway across the globe and spending loads of money to get there you should focus on the cultural opportunities, which you can't get at home, rather than the volunteer opportunities which you can. Either way, it's an incredible experience and I'm sure you'll make the most of it whatever you decide to do =).
 

batman1983

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Well if you are as noble as you sound and "just want to help people," why not donate the $1500+ you'd spend on a ticket abroad to some charitable organization and then volunteer in your area? That way you get to help people everywhere! :rolleyes:


Yeh thats what I thought too. Honestly, with only an undergrad degree, there is not much value you can add when volunteering abroad besides being an extra set of hands or a "gopher" in doing basic tasks. Why not use that money and either donate it to some charity or hire some poor local to go on your behalf? To be honest, cheap labor is usually the one thing that is not in shortage in these poor places, thus it would be better benefit for their societies, if you hired one of the locals to volunteer on your behalf, rather than going there yourself. At least you provide some financial support that person and the money can slowing trickle down to their local economy. It seems like that would make more sense than paying $ to some 3rd party, western based organization that would mostly use it on inefficient overhead systems just for you to go volunteer.
 

Rabbit36

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I think it's clear that people aren't, nor should they be expected to be, completely selfless in all their reasons for wanting to do something like volunteering in India or Africa. After all, if all you want is to be as selfless as possible, aren't you simply pursuing your own desires for self-fulfillment and satisfaction? I think it's an irrelevant argument.

A lot of people really value the opportunity to live in another, radically different culture to gain perspective or simply because they like it. Some people may not want to do some drunken American kid-filled semester at sea or study abroad. In their mind, they might rather do something, even if it's only a token, to serve the communities that they are using, to some extent, for their own personal development. I agree that in the long term, it's way too easy for people to run off and "save" Africa while ignoring the needs of communities at home. I also feel the emphasis needs to shift towards training and retention (countering the brain drain) of native health professionals in developing nations, rather than the somewhat 'colonial' practice of flying in western doctors for brief stints. But regardless, if someone has a drive to travel like this, it will be a lot more difficult to do it in the future, even with opportunities like MSF (depending on specialty, patients may always be booked months ahead of time and it won't be easy to take off for a few months). So if you have the opportunity, I say go for it now!
 
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