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When is the best time to do international humanitarian work?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by cdmccart, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. cdmccart

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    I'm entering my junior year this fall and I'm insanely interested in travelling to Africa to do some sort of humanitarian work. What my main issue right now is finding the time to do it while staying on track to take the MCAT and apply for the 2010 cycle. Thanks to my assanine advisor my freshman year, I'll be taking Orgo I in the fall and Orgo II in the spring as a junior. I was planning on taking MCAT in May or June 09 and applying very early that summer. When do you think is the best time for me to try to travel or do some sort of international internship?
     
  2. SirGecko

    SirGecko Go Navy
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    Just so you know Orgo isn't that big on the MCAT and its importance has been decreasing for a while. (so you could take in January or April and be fine if you do some studying on your own with a kaplan or princeton review book or something)

    As to when to travel... how about now? I realize it might be a little late for you to arrange anything but I'd say this summer was probably your best bet. Maybe you could look into studying abroad next semester but again I think you might be a little late to apply to any programs. You could try studying abroad second semester next year but that will make you have to wait till June at the earliest to take the MCAT. Or you could see if there are any programs you can hook up with over winter break. (depends on how long your winter break is) Overall I think you may have waited a little too long and may have to wait till after medical school or maybe the summer before you matriculate to do this. (unless you want to delay your application a year, which is a perfectly fine thing to do; you could delay it a few years and join the peace corps, that is a great way to travel to a different part of the world and get some work experience at the same time)

    But if you just want to travel as a "premedy" thing to do, don't bother. Really volunteering in your own community is just as necessary and will give you much more relevant medical experience.
     
  3. cdmccart

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    Haha, no... being "premedy" is not my goal. I've been working with a group called Invisible Children since 2006 and I'm really passionate about the cause. It's basically aimed at bringing attention to the 22 year long war in Uganda and how it affects the children and what's left of the adult population. Ideally, I'd work with Invisible Children in some way, but the internships in Uganda are really competetive. Thanks for the advice... I'll look into a winter vacation trip (my break is almost 4 weeks long).
     
  4. Little Etoile

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    I did my abroad program during my winter break. The organization's listed start/end dates didn't match up with my school's winter break, but I contacted the organization and they said they were happy to accommodate my schedule. That is probably your best bet.

    Good luck! And hats off to you for you work. :thumbup:
     
  5. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin
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    Best time to do it is when you are a doctor.

    Not saying you shouldnt do it now, just dont forget about it after you get the MD.
     
  6. futuredrcrawfor

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    well i would suggest either the Jan or April MCAT then take a trip as soon as you finish classes in May... have your personal statement finished before you go (unless you plan to use the trip in PS) then submit as soon as you get back (say stay 2-4 weeks)... my trip to Africa was my senior year of high school. But following freshman and sophomore years I have done study abroad in May so I could be back in June/July for work and this year for a July 8th MCAT!
     
  7. admitER

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    I strongly disagree with that statement... I volunteered like 100 hours in both clinical/non-clinical situations in the states, and I got 10X the amount of "relevant medical experience" in a week in Central America than I did in all of those hours. I'm not saying you can't have a valuable experience either way, obviously, but if this trip means something to the OP by all means, go for it.

    In fact, I am going to have to throw my hat in the ring for medical missions versus in-state - you don't have all the crazy legal loopholes to jump through, you get real experience with real people that genuinely need your help. (Versus volunteering at your local ER, folding towels, and maybe occasionally getting to wheel a patient from point A to point B). Just my $0.02.
     
  8. SirGecko

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    Alright but it doesn't help for "premedy" experience because it isn't in the US. That was my point. (I volunteered outside the US and was told that I needed US experience as well) Its great as a personal experience but as I understand it ADCOMS don't put as much value in it as some people think. (which is why I said not to bother doing it if they were just doing it to impress ADCOMS, because they won't be that impressed)
     

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