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Medical Should I include volunteer experience abroad (where I was born and raised in) in my personal statement?

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Full Member
Staff member
Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Oct 27, 2013
If I were born in a third world country where most people are uninsured and affordable or reliable healthcare is virtually non-existent, is putting a volunteering experience in that country during summer break (1 month) a good idea for personal statement? I did not perform any invasive procedures but I would say how I saw things and how I believed health literacy in such community is very important since it could help to know the basic measures such as hygiene and sanitation to prevent the spread of diseases for underserved communities. I want to emphasize that I lived in that country for 18 years before I moved to college. Is it a bad thing since it is about me volunteering abroad as I saw some posts saying volunteering abroad isn't judged favorably.

You lived there for 18 years, but you want to write about a 1-month volunteer trip? I'd rather hear about life there and learn about you as a person and how living there and the potential difference in culture and how that shaped you than to read the same story from 300 other people who also do these mission-type trips. Is it worth a mention that you went back, sure if it fits in well, but what I mentioned will sound better to me compared to the things I read for others.


Full Member
Volunteer Staff
7+ Year Member
Mar 12, 2013
  1. Resident [Any Field]
Take your life experiences and use them to guide your personal statement. Talk about what you saw and felt and how this molded you to want to become a doctor. This will be much more interesting than, “oh ya I went and volunteered.” I think you have a real opportunity to have a unique personal statement so use that to your advantage!

However, I would still slide in the fact that you did go back and volunteer, but make it a side dish, maybe even a condiment, not the meat and potatoes.

Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
Oct 14, 2011
  1. Academic Administration
Just to give you a different idea for strategy, you can write all about how you grew up outside the US in a "disadvantaged"/diversity essay that most schools will prompt from you in secondary applications. This could free you up to think more about your observations, influences, and champions that shaped your motivation to pursue medicine. I will agree with @TheBoneDoctah that your return to your home country as a volunteer should be a side-dish even in that PS.
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