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VOLUNTEER work in AFRICA?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by OnMyWayThere, May 4, 2004.

  1. OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    I want to volunteer somewhere impressive... anybody have tips? I've done my local hospital - need advice on perhaps something abroad...?
     
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  2. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    Haha, I wanna volunteer somewhere impressive too.
     
  3. OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    I think it will change your view on life as whole as well... not a bad experience at all. We'll see how it goes.
     
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  4. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    How impressive does a SARS ridden hospital sound?
     
  5. Friday

    Friday TGIF
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    If you want somewahere 'impressive' avoid africa and other 3 world areas, You won't be impressed. If you are genuinely interested in helping people out, try africa or other impverished areas...
     
  6. lotanna

    lotanna Child of God
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    sounds to me like u think volunteering here will look great when ur applying. You should only do this because of ur passion for medicine or u'll be in for a shock. We had long days, and were extremely tired. No way would i go thru all that just because it was something "cool" to do. Another thing is you say "Africa", but pls 1st of all do ur research, Africa is made up of 53 countries, and volunteering in the city hospital of one African country, say Nigeria will be totally different from volunteering in a small town clinic in Nigeria.

    Anywayz check out my post here
    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=119577&highlight=abroad
     
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  7. ndi_amaka

    ndi_amaka Senior Member
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    Thank you for correcting the OP. Africa is not one big homogenous country. Wouldn't I sound ignorant if I said I wanted to volunteer in the Americas because it's "impressive"?? Like Canada US and Mexico are one big place?
     
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  8. curlycity

    curlycity Guest

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    To impress the adcoms, find a volunteer experience that will be meaningful to you. Specific concerns like poverty, certain illnesses (e.g. HIV), illiteracy, women's issues (e.g. FGM) will be a better guide to finding an experience than geography. The adcom will be more impressed by your choosing to do something you think is important than by going somewhere that 'sounds' exotic, dangerous, etc.

    On a side note, make sure you check cia.gov for advisories on which countries you should even be considering traveling to.

    Good luck finding your own personal windmill to tilt at :)
     
  9. OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    uhmm, no. It might sound ignorant to you because you live here but that's actually how we're referred to by other countries. So, I still want to go to Africa and I asked about programs to narrow it down to underserved areas. Thanks though for your help.

    I don't think anybody would go to such an extent if they did it only for impression. That would be crazy. Of course it is a great experience as well as an impressive experience.
     
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  10. curlycity

    curlycity Guest

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    Except for Texas - we get referred to as Oh, Texas! Cowboy Hat! :laugh:
     
  11. curlycity

    curlycity Guest

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  12. ndi_amaka

    ndi_amaka Senior Member
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    No, it sounds ignorant because it is ignorant. Other countries understand quite well the difference between the US and Mexico.

    When i was in Nigeria and would tell people I lived in Texas and they said they had a friend in New York City, I would correct them too.

    Knowledge is power, yo.
     
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  13. ndi_amaka

    ndi_amaka Senior Member
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  14. curlycity

    curlycity Guest

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    Did you tell them they were ignorant? Got tact?

    Anyway OP, you could try contacting the med schools you're interested in attending and asking if they have any programs abroad that you could participate in. I know a girl here at UT doing work at Baylor's Pediatric HIV Center in Mexico this summer, and they have programs at various locations in Africa also. So, if you need help narrowing it down from a continent to a clinic ;) you could call your schools of interest and ask, or check out their web sites.

    http://www.securethefuture.com/media/data/061903.doc
    http://www.hivdent.org/pediatrics/pedBIAF012004.htm
     
  15. curlycity

    curlycity Guest

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    OP, check this out for ideas. In response to your request for help finding out about programs and underserved areas.
     
  16. ndi_amaka

    ndi_amaka Senior Member
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    Just informing, in case s/he doesn't know.
     
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  17. curlycity

    curlycity Guest

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    okey dokey :) .
     
  18. OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    Curlycity, thank you so much for your insightful responses. They were very helpful. That's what it's all about :thumbup:

    ndi_amaka, Get a life. Ignorance is you trying to prove that you know Africa or the Americas are not just one country.... wow, we didn't know that! Thanks for your contribution! :laugh:

    I've contacted several of the programs and awaiting responses. Thanks again!
     
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  19. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    I've been to Africa several times through Humanitarian Medical Outreach (www.rice.edu/hmo).

    Yes, I call it Africa, even though I mean East Africa, or perhaps more precisely Kenya and Uganda.

    I am also taking a recreational trip to Europe this summer, even though I mean a number of particular countries within Europe.
     
  20. Friday

    Friday TGIF
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    Congratulations on your getting this far. As I, and someone else had stated, don't go if you merely want to be impressed. You can get more impressed going as a tourist. If the aim is to impress adcoms, they will be more impressed if you tell them about how you worked with dyslexic children in you hometown, if thats your passion.

    Thats doing yourself and the Africans a favor.
     
  21. ndi_amaka

    ndi_amaka Senior Member
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    :thumbup: Well said.
     
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  22. ndi_amaka

    ndi_amaka Senior Member
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    Whatever. Just endeavor not to exploit people in your attempt to impress an admissions committee. Do it because you have a genuine interest in being there and contributing.
     
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  23. OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    In order to be ahead in life, try and always kill two birds with one stone. Enough with this wasting time though...
     
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  24. curlycity

    curlycity Guest

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    :thumbup: Good luck! And one more thing - contact a travel clinic, you might need to start getting shots *now* to travel in six months or a year (e.g. Hep B series).
     
  25. docjolly

    docjolly On Cloud Nine, Once Again
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    "somewhere impressive?" What is the purpose for this? If you are GENUINELY interested in volunteering for the sake of learning more and solidifying your understanding of the medical profession, then it should not matter where you volunteer. The main problem I have with your question is it's tone..Why do the continent of Africa a disservice by going there with the intention of volunteering to impression adcoms? (if you aren't trying to impress adcoms, then why ask for "somewhere impressive?" ) Your ILL INTENTIONS WILL be revealed to patients you will help in Africa..More importantly, they will become obvious to an adcom. interviewing you..

    Save yourself the money and the time..Focus less on impressing people and more on your true motivations for even asking this question..

    Just a thought...
     
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  26. skyreaper

    skyreaper Member
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    I am also considering volunteering abroad...I've been doing some research and I don't think they will or should allow random people who want to help out to come. For me particularly, I want to do medical missions eventually once becoming a doctor...so I'm planning on taking an EMT course, P.C.T. (patient care technician), or a surgical technologist course...then I plan on getting contacts to go on missions. My thought is, if your going to devote a summer, a lot of money, and a lot of your compassion into doing this...be well prepared and make it worth your while. To be able to go to third world country and give them something they only dreamed for is something that cannot be taken lightly. I'm not a guru in medical admissions but I do indeed think that if you write in your application that you did medical work abroad...it would definitely look impressive. However, you can either impress them or totally turn them away. You genuinely have to get something out of the ordeal ...since it is a big deal. A short little phrase that you volunteered in Africa without any elaboration will probabably shoot you right in the foot.
     
  27. Trekkie963

    Trekkie963 Senior Member
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    I don't know much about what P.C.T. or surgical technologist training entails, but I can tell you that in developing areas EMT can be pretty useless. In Kenya and Uganda, there is almost no pre-hospital emergency care. The only skills I ever really got use out of were the triage skills, and those you can learn in about fifteen minutes.
     
  28. skyreaper

    skyreaper Member
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    Thanks for the input...I will definitely take that into consideration when i decide what path I want to take.
     
  29. OnMyWayThere

    OnMyWayThere OMS-III
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    I agree 100%
     
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