Mexico Medical Mission Trip: Thoughts?

CherryBlossom15

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May 20, 2020
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So I go to an undergrad in San Diego, and I have been to Tijuana several times on medical mission trips because Mexico is literally 45 minutes drive across the border. With that said, would this be considered volunteerism and looked down upon? I'd consider 45 minutes to be even local, since I'm not flying across the country. I usually spend very little on these trips (less than $100) since it's a quick drive. I know the problem with medical mission trips is that we don't create lasting impacts and sometimes volunteers practice out of their scope (i.e. doing illegal procedures unlicensed). However, I've been able to establish longevity by visiting that clinic in Tijuana every year and helping out the doctors by scribing or taking vitals for them, tasks that are not out of my scope because I have done these before in the hospital setting. I've learned a great deal from going on these mission trips and networking with the entire medical team, and working with the underserved is definitely a big theme in my application. Would you say that these Mexico mission trips would be frowned upon then?
 

TheDataKing

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This doesn't sound like your typical voluntourism and I think it'll all depend on how you phrase it in the work/activities section. If phrased correctly, you can demonstrate that they were local trips and were continued longitudinally to provide care. I don't think they'll be frowned down upon but I'm not an adcom obviously.
 
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CherryBlossom15

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May 20, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
This doesn't sound like your typical voluntourism and I think it'll all depend on how you phrase it in the work/activities section. If phrased correctly, you can demonstrate that they were local trips and were continued longitudinally to provide care. I don't think they'll be frowned down upon but I'm not an adcom obviously.

Thanks for your input! I will definitely try to emphasize the "providing longitudinal care to my local underserved community" aspect in my application.
 
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StudentDoGter

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I have a handful of friends who attended SoCal undergrads and participated in trips just like that to TJ, and it was a great experience which they used on their applications. I think you’ll be fine, and it’s great that you participated in the same clinic multiple times :)
 
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