gracielou94

5+ Year Member
Nov 7, 2013
6
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi everyone,

First, apologies for long post. I'm really torn about this difference. I've been awarded by my university some $$ to do a 3 month internship abroad next year (it actually has to be abroad in order to get the scholarship). Right now, I'd really like to go to South Africa and I'm trying to decide if I should do a non-medical internship at a cheetah conservation (which I really like and is what I want to do) and doing a medically oriented internship in something like public health or medical research at a hospital (CapeIntern apparently sets up internships like this). I'd also enjoy doing a medical internship in South Africa, but I'm fairly opinionated when it comes to premed medical internships abroad. Personally, I think that if you want to become a physician in the US, then your clinical and research experience should be in the US. So for a while I was thinking I'd just do the cheetah program because that's what I really want to do.

However my friend pointed out to me yesterday that, given that one of my career goals as a physician is to work with MSF, the Peace Corp, the Red Cross, or some other humanitarian organization, it may strengthen my application to have a medical internship abroad listed on there. However I feel that given my skill set right now (premed), this seems futile. There may be a few program where I can actually be of help, but the majority seem like shadowing and research, which are a little more self-serving than helpful.

I already do a lot of volunteer work in my community at home, including:
-Brigham and Women's Hospital volunteer (ongoing since fall of 2013)
-University of Pennsylvania Hospital volunteer (4 months, summer of 2014)
-Rosies Place volunteer (since early 2014)
-Big Sister (one year, March of 2014 to March of 2015)
-Red Cross (ongoing since May 2015)

Personally I'd count the hospital volunteering as clinical experience, but I've also done (or will do):
-1 week shadowing in NICU
-6 month internship at Rehab Clinic in underserved community
-I will get a day to shadow an orthopedic surgeon in September or October

I still have 2-3 more years until I apply to medical school, so I have plenty of time to get more clinical/volunteer experience if I want to. So the question remains, should I just go with the cheetah internship that I'd prefer over the medical internship, and then at interviews explain why I didn't want to do a medical internship abroad? Or should I do a medical one and stress it when explaining my goal of working with MSF, etc?

Additionally, as far as I can tell right now, I know that the cheetah internship would be very cheap (****And, no, I don't want to be a vet, I know I want to do medicine, I just thought it'd be a great experience to get to work with big cats and educate people about conservation****)
 

GrapesofRath

2+ Year Member
May 5, 2015
5,320
3,803
Status
Non-Student
Hi everyone,

First, apologies for long post. I'm really torn about this difference. I've been awarded by my university some $$ to do a 3 month internship abroad next year (it actually has to be abroad in order to get the scholarship). Right now, I'd really like to go to South Africa and I'm trying to decide if I should do a non-medical internship at a cheetah conservation (which I really like and is what I want to do) and doing a medically oriented internship in something like public health or medical research at a hospital (CapeIntern apparently sets up internships like this). I'd also enjoy doing a medical internship in South Africa, but I'm fairly opinionated when it comes to premed medical internships abroad. Personally, I think that if you want to become a physician in the US, then your clinical and research experience should be in the US. So for a while I was thinking I'd just do the cheetah program because that's what I really want to do.

However my friend pointed out to me yesterday that, given that one of my career goals as a physician is to work with MSF, the Peace Corp, the Red Cross, or some other humanitarian organization, it may strengthen my application to have a medical internship abroad listed on there. However I feel that given my skill set right now (premed), this seems futile. There may be a few program where I can actually be of help, but the majority seem like shadowing and research, which are a little more self-serving than helpful.

I already do a lot of volunteer work in my community at home, including:
-Brigham and Women's Hospital volunteer (ongoing since fall of 2013)
-University of Pennsylvania Hospital volunteer (4 months, summer of 2014)
-Rosies Place volunteer (since early 2014)
-Big Sister (one year, March of 2014 to March of 2015)
-Red Cross (ongoing since May 2015)

Personally I'd count the hospital volunteering as clinical experience, but I've also done (or will do):
-1 week shadowing in NICU
-6 month internship at Rehab Clinic in underserved community
-I will get a day to shadow an orthopedic surgeon in September or October

I still have 2-3 more years until I apply to medical school, so I have plenty of time to get more clinical/volunteer experience if I want to. So the question remains, should I just go with the cheetah internship that I'd prefer over the medical internship, and then at interviews explain why I didn't want to do a medical internship abroad? Or should I do a medical one and stress it when explaining my goal of working with MSF, etc?

Additionally, as far as I can tell right now, I know that the cheetah internship would be very cheap (****And, no, I don't want to be a vet, I know I want to do medicine, I just thought it'd be a great experience to get to work with big cats and educate people about conservation****)
Make whatever decision you want(both are fine and honestly you should do the one you prefer which you stated as the non medical work) but don't base it off what you said in the bold.

Also no interviewer is going to ask a question about why "you did a non clinical job instead of a research job for a summer". As is always said focus on what you are passionate about and the rest will often fall into place better than you might expect.
 

Doudline

7+ Year Member
Aug 17, 2012
2,252
1,818
"There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don't like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn't that a little like saving up sex for your old age?" - Warren Buffett

-----------------------------

MSF won't care that you did a 3 months "medical" internship in college. You won't fool anyone - as a college student you are skill-less (unless you omitted some information), and the specific object of your trip matters much less than the experience in a developing country itself.

Follow your passions, boo!