closertofine

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I've got something of a dilemma about what to do this coming summer...and I was wondering if any of you could advise me on what med schools might like more. (Disclaimer: I'm not DOING this for med school admissions, just would like to know what effect the two choices would have.) I can either go abroad for free (with a grant) and do whatever I want, or I can do a pretty intensive volunteer program at a local hospital (i.e. 40 hours a week).

At first glance, it does seem that going abroad would be a more unique, exciting option, but then I worry that I won't have enough hospital experience (I have none now) to decide for sure on med school, or even to get into med school. I do plan to do an internship at an inpatient psych unit this spring, but that's not quite "medical" hospital experience. Even if I could get a medical-related volunteer job abroad (India maybe?), it would likely not be standard hospital volunteering, which seems useful for pre-med.

And next fall, I could theoretically do the local hospital volunteering, but then I wouldn't get paid and might have to live at home...also, I'd have trouble finding a job for six months that spring.

P.S. My mom is trying to convince me that I should definitely do the local volunteering and give up my grant....because the volunteering would be such a good experience (you get to rotate between 3 hospitals and follow doctors, etc.). So I have begun to lean that way, but don't know if it's the best idea.

OK, sorry if I made this sound more complicated than it is...but I'm stuck on what to do....

Karen
 

BobbyDylanFan

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Karen,

Personally I would do the study abroad deal (especially since you got that grant!!) because with it you get a good cultural experience, learn better communication skills, etc. I think you could get a volunteering job there no problem that would be similar to here...just keep looking for something until you find what you want. You never know, maybe in the place you go, they actually would give you better opportunities for volunteering. As a side note, a guy from china that I work with invited me to china to learn accupuncture and massage the traditional way. I want to go so bad, but have classes this summer (i'm on a quarter system) but possibley next year which would be before med school (but would only take a month according to him). Anyways, good luck with your decision...I'm sure either way you choose, it will be good for you!
 

samyjay

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GO abroad. Seriously, you can only do so much as a volunteer, and it really only takes a few weeks to gain an understanding that volunteers really can't do much. While going abroad, you learn so so much, and can even try volunteering/shadowing doctors there. Helping people does not change throughout the world, and you can gain so much from learning about a different culuture. When you get back, call the hospital and ask to volunteer, you only "need" a few hours a week, and it is for you. Good luck
 

lalalala

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Go abroad, Karen! you will get much more out of going abroad-- and there is more room for your own initiative and creativity in setting up a project or whatever you want to do.... really, from what you have described, i wouldn't pass on this opportunity. international experience=good stuff!. best of luck w/ your decision :)
 

pwrpfgrl

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definitely go abroad!!!! its not that hard to get a decent volunteer job but how often do you have the chance to go to another country for free??!!! this seems like a once in a lifetime opportunity - go for it! on a side note, when i was a junior in college, i had the chance to work abroad for the summer and my mom really didn't want me to go. i went anyway and had a great time, and was home a few months later. i think the idea of being a whole ocean apart freaked her out, but afterwards, everything was the same, so there was no reason for her to worry.

:)
 

abw

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Go Abroad!!!!! It will be the best experience of your life, and it changes your perspectives! Where would you be going? Do you have a choice? I did a semester at sea, and not only got to see the world, but also took an international health class where i learned about different health systems and got to visit hospitals/health care facilities in different countries. Don't give up the opportunity - you will never have it again. Plus, if you're not sure from your experiences that medicine is for you, you can always delay your app. for a year (i always thought that applying senior year vs. junior year was the most horrible idea ever, but it turned out to be a really good thing) Good luck with your decision!
 

DrMom

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go abroad

notice a pattern here? ;)
 

LoneCoyote

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another voice here for going abroad :)

I passed up the chance to go abroad during undergrad and it is the only thing I regret about my college experience. I think you will learn so much by going abroad about cultures and people, and in the end that will be more beneficial to your medical career. The advisor here feels that med schools really like to see people who have studied abroad and she encourages everyone who has the opportunity to do so to take it. Good luck with your decision.

Peace.