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How do adcoms feel about service clubs that go abroad?

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baratheonfire

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I'm pretty sure Global Brigades isn't allowed to use fund raised money to pay for their own trips. And out of most of the voluntourism clubs I think global brigades is one of the most reputable.
I started a chapter of a club that works on sustainable development in India, but the majority of the work is done here (planning/collaborating with NGO's) and the 2 week trip every year is to the same location, to check on progress. I'm Indian and the village I'm working with is where my mom was born so I think it's kind of consistent. I also have a really long track record of community service (12+ years out of 19) in my hometown in the US so I hope it doesn't look like I'm box checking.
 
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gonnif

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To sum it all up, overseas service/mission trips are viewed with skeptically
 
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SnakeDoc9497

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I think the only scenario where a trip like this could be considered a "leg up" is if two applicants were letter for letter identical on paper, but one had taken a Global Brigades trip. Even that seems dicey...haha at that point they may even both get interviews.

These sorts of trips can't hurt you in anyway from an admissions standpoint. However, people need to consider things beyond that. Much like you said, these trips don't do squat for the community/village they end up helping, and the link above even suggests they do more emotional and economic harm than good. I'd rather see a someone start a club where people simply fundraise as if they were going abroad, but then just give the money to the desired community/village for their own use. Kids in Ghana and Nicaragua don't need friendship bracelets, they need school books and clothing.
 
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Benjoe11

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They wouldn't judge the group by name only. Like any organization it depends on what you do with it. If you only raised money to go on a 9 day trip to Guatemala once a year, that probably would be viewed a bit more negatively. However, if on top of raising money to do mission work in Guatemala, you also worked with the local Hispanic population in your community tutoring kids in English, put on advocacy events for the needs in the abroad community and raised supplies to send down all year long it would ne be viewed differently. Demonstrating a continuous, prolonged commitment to service of a population is different than going down on a week vacation disguised as mission work.
 

gonnif

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I think the only scenario where a trip like this could be considered a "leg up" is if two applicants were letter for letter identical on paper, but one had taken a Global Brigades trip. Even that seems dicey...haha at that point they may even both get interviews.

These sorts of trips can't hurt you in anyway from an admissions standpoint. However, people need to consider things beyond that. Much like you said, these trips don't do squat for the community/village they end up helping, and the link above even suggests they do more emotional and economic harm than good. I'd rather see a someone start a club where people simply fundraise as if they were going abroad, but then just give the money to the desired community/village for their own use. Kids in Ghana and Nicaragua don't need friendship bracelets, they need school books and clothing.

Everything has an impact and they can indeed hurt you. This has been widely discussed in the premed advisors listserv and the general consensus is they are mostly questionable at best. So if an applicant presents with this and has other "questionable" EC, it can add to a pattern and create a less than flattering picture in an adcoms mind. And dont forget that overall "padding" of EC does the same thing. It will hurt your chances

They wouldn't judge the group by name only. Like any organization it depends on what you do with it. If you only raised money to go on a 9 day trip to Guatemala once a year, that probably would be viewed a bit more skeptically. However, if on top of raising money to do mission work in Guatemala, you also worked with the local Hispanic population in your community tutoring kids in English, put on advocacy events for the needs in the abroad community and raised supplies to send down all year long it would ne be viewed differently. Demonstrating a continuous, prolonged commitment to service of a population is different than going down on a week vacation disguised as mission work.

Unfortunately, they do. We are constantly getting advisors asking about groups like this and names can tossed around as good or, mostly, bad. So a name with a poor reputation can have a negative impact on an application.
 
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darknecrosforte

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Hey, my university is promoting that $1500 Peru trip nonsense too. Even though our AMSA chapter is pretty much dead, we still have those cringeworthy talks about how we can go abroad and "help" and blah blah blah. Do you go to a CSU school or is this organization prolific and sending hundreds of naive pre-meds onto the unlucky nation of Peru this year? lol
 

Goro

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To sum it all up, overseas service/mission trips are viewed with skeptically

I have to be blunt here: please restrain your ignorance of the medical school admissions process.

There's a reason why gonnif's learned opinion mirrors my own Adcom and those of others. They are viewed as "medical tourism", a term I first heard out of the mouth of a Pathologist colleague of mine.

They CAN hurt you because these trips are looked at as being all about you and not the people supposedly being helped.

These sorts of trips can't hurt you in anyway from an admissions standpoint.
 
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JustAPhD

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Always found it funny/scary when some premeds on here speak in absolutes when talking about admissions.
 
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Lawpy

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Always found it funny/scary when some premeds on here speak in absolutes when talking about admissions.

Agreed it is rather idiotic on the premeds part but it seems convincingly clear that admissions operates on a logical process. But just because admissions is logical doesnt mean we can easily forecast the outcomes. Why? Because adcoms inherently have much more information to access than the applicants
 
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Every term, without fail, some student comes into one of the pre-med pre-req classes and gives a charismatic speech about whatever organization they are a shill for. I always assumed that there is some reward system in place for these people that try to recruit students to dump a couple grand into a voluntourism trip with their organization. Students in my classes eat it up too.
 
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SnakeDoc9497

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Everything has an impact and they can indeed hurt you. This has been widely discussed in the premed advisors listserv and the general consensus is they are mostly questionable at best. So if an applicant presents with this and has other "questionable" EC, it can add to a pattern and create a less than flattering picture in an adcoms mind. And dont forget that overall "padding" of EC does the same thing. It will hurt your chances



Unfortunately, they do. We are constantly getting advisors asking about groups like this and names can tossed around as good or, mostly, bad. So a name with a poor reputation can have a negative impact on an application.
thanks for clearing that up. You too @Goro . I suppose that is why I have never gone on one...it always seemed like there was so much to be done locally that I never took a huge interest in going abroad
 
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pinkstarburstxo

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While most schools would probably look down upon this or have, at best, a neutral standpoint I feel like there are some schools that probably value service abroad. For example, Loma Linda hopes to train future medical missionaries from what I've read. Loma Linda is a special school though. There are likely many communities in your own backyard that need help. Start there!
 

intangible

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I have to be blunt here: please restrain your ignorance of the medical school admissions process.

There's a reason why gonnif's learned opinion mirrors my own Adcom and those of others. They are viewed as "medical tourism", a term I first heard out of the mouth of a Pathologist colleague of mine.

They CAN hurt you because these trips are looked at as being all about you and not the people supposedly being helped.

I've been invited to a conference on infectious diseases in Malaysia. I'm going with my mentor (PhD). The focus is clinical and the conference will last 2 weeks. Does this qualify as medical tourism, or would this fall under a different category?
 

Goro

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Jeeze, trolls these days. In my day, trolls were Trolls!


I've been invited to a conference on infectious diseases in Malaysia. I'm going with my mentor (PhD). The focus is clinical and the conference will last 2 weeks. Does this qualify as medical tourism, or would this fall under a different category?
 

intangible

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Jeeze, trolls these days. In my day, trolls were Trolls!

It's a legitimate question. I want to know if this is worth putting on my application, or whether it would be looked at as a useless trip overseas.
 

JustAPhD

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I'm struggling to wrap my head around what the itinerary of a two week research conference would entail.
 

intangible

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Research conferences, no matter where they are, are admirable.

I am not presenting, but I did help in organizing it (all of the presenters have terminal degrees). That's why I was hesitant in including it in my application (even though I'm applying in ~2 years).

The program includes clinical topics and academic topics (genetics/transcription, transcriptional regulation).
 

baratheonfire

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I've been invited to a conference on infectious diseases in Malaysia. I'm going with my mentor (PhD). The focus is clinical and the conference will last 2 weeks. Does this qualify as medical tourism, or would this fall under a different category?
holy **** is the mentor your uncle or something
 

intangible

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holy **** is the mentor your uncle or something

LOL, no, we are not related by blood—but she has been like a mother to me. She is easily one of the most influential people in my life, and I like to think that I've inspired her in some ways, too.

She's the only reason why I have the courage to get out of bed and chase my dreams every morning. Like she says, "[her] students are [her] lasting legacy, and [she] gives [them] everything she can, so that [they] can be the best they can be."
 

baratheonfire

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LOL, no, we are not related by blood—but she has been like a mother to me. She is easily one of the most influential people in my life, and I like to think that I've inspired her in some ways, too.

She's the only reason why I have the courage to get out of bed and chase my dreams every morning. Like she says, "[her] students are [her] lasting legacy, and [she] gives [them] everything she can, so that [they] can be the best they can be."
wtf does everyone have letters of rec from people like this
 
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Goro

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If you didn't present, it shouldn't go into your research experience. As an EC, it might qualify as a service, somewhere.


I am not presenting, but I did help in organizing it (all of the presenters have terminal degrees). That's why I was hesitant in including it in my application (even though I'm applying in ~2 years).

The program includes clinical topics and academic topics (genetics/transcription, transcriptional regulation).
 
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