Vida Medical, Dental & Veterinary Programs in Guatemala

By VIDA   Reviews (29)   96% Rating

Join Vida in Guatemala as a volunteer in their field clinics! Experience the culture and history of Guatemala, its beautiful mountains and gorgeous southern coast! Vida Programs in Guatemala are typically 1-2 weeks in length.

Participants in the medical programs will gain experience working with patients while learning basic medical examination techniques. Volunteers will work alongside a staff of licensed doctors to provide communities with the services they need. Volunteering with Vida will give you a chance to learn more about public health and experience the rich culture of Guatemala.

There are also opportunities for volunteers interested in dentistry to help facilitate mobile dental clinics. Volunteers can shadow experienced dentists. Depending on their level of experience and education in dentistry, volunteers may even have the opportunity to perform procedures under the supervision of mentors.

Visit the Vida website to learn more!

View Program Information
Location: 
  • Guatemala
Volunteer Types: 
Medical
Education
Service Learning
Program Length: 
1-2 weeks
Cost: 
See site for details.
Languages: 
English
Housing: 
Home-stay
Hostels
Application: 
Online Application

Program Reviews (29)

96%
Positive
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  • Impact
    97%
  • Support
    97%
  • Fun
    91%
  • Value
    97%
  • Safety
    93%
  • John
    Age: 25-30
    Male
    New York, New York
    Columbia University
    Worthwhile, Eye opening
    10/08/2014

    We travelled to many different towns and villages. Clinics were about 8-9 hours a day, but the patients made time fly. The doctors were knowledgable and loved to teach. Side trips were great too. Cliff diving in Lake Atitlan, zip lining, etc.

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  • Shelly
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Davis, CA
    University of California- Davis
    Guatemala!!
    07/24/2014

    I've been doing VIDA trips for 5 years now.. This has been my fourth trip, and my first in Guatemala... all I can say is it was amazing! We had our homestays in Ixtahuacan for only 2 nights, and I wish we could have stayed longer. We also visited Panajachel and Antigua. The country is breathtaking, the people are extremely nice and hospitable, the shopping opportunities are endlessly filled with beautiful textiles, the food is delicious, and the program was fantastic.

    How could this program be improved?

    I wish the homestays in Ixtahuacan were longer!

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  • Elizabeth
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Davis, California
    University of California- Davis
    Simply amazing!
    07/23/2014

    I've been on two VIDA veterinary trips--last year in Costa Rica and this year in Guatemala--and I have to say that this year was even better than last year! The areas that we went were spectacular and had enough patients to keep us busy, while the recreational days were beyond amazing. Can't wait to go next year!

    How could this program be improved?

    I would like to have even more patients than we had this year. Towards the end of every day, most of us were just sitting around with nothing to do.

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  • Logan
    Age: 18 or younger
    Male
    Spartanburg, SC
    University of South Carolina, Columbia
    VIDA will take you on an amazing adventure!
    07/02/2013

    I am a pre-med student who went to Guatemala with the VIDA med team. We had six clinic days and several adventure days. Clinic days consisted of 8-hour clinics where we analyzed patients' concerns, history, symptoms, etc. and then worked directly with the doctors to diagnose and treat their conditions. On the adventure days we did things like tour the lake, cliff jump, zip line, and other things that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own. We always stayed in very nice hotels in somewhat touristic areas that were safe to explore. We always had to be with at least one other person, but we were frequently given free time to explore the area, go to bars and restaurants, dance clubs, etc. Overall it was an amazing experience. Very safe and definitely worth the money. All the fun of discvering a new culture in a beautiful country plus the experience of providing medical care and the joy of helping people in need.

    How could this program be improved?

    Sometimes the patients would have to wait a long time because there were only two doctors. They were always very thorough and made sure that we and the patient understood everything. These are all good things but they make the process slower, so they should have at least one more doctor at each clinic site. Homestays would have been a very interesting experience also, but these have not been set up in Guatemala yet as they have been in some of the other countries in which VIDA operates.

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  • Anna
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Minnesota
    College of Saint Benedict
    Guatemala
    06/23/2013

    Got to do everything a vet would do on a daily basis with their supervision so it was both a challenging yet amazing experience. I learned so much and got to spend time in the country that I love.

    How could this program be improved?

    If possible, more clinic days. That was by far my favorite part

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  • Michelle
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Madison, Wisconsin
    University of Wisconsin
    Great Experience for Possible Med Students
    06/17/2013

    It was amazing to meet such a welcoming staff with the programs and meetings set up so that the participating students are prepared for the clinic days. The clinic days are also a great opportunity for students to both experience hands-on medical work as well as learn in detail how to diagnose patients. Clinic days are mixed in with recreational days for participants to explore the country as a group.

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  • Megan
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    United States
    University of Wisconsin
    VIDA Medical, Dental, and Veterinary Programs in Guatemala
    06/15/2013

    I would recommend this trip for any pre-health student because of the opportunities you can explore. I was involved in the Veterinary program and I can honestly say it was the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I was able to personally help with surgeries and do consults for many dogs and cats. I have no idea where else you'll be able to be so involved and learn the amount of information I did in only two weeks. It was a life-changing experience for me and I want more than everything to go on another VIDA trip. You'll also form close friendships with your fellow trip members because you share a common purpose and I can guarantee you'll absolutely not want to leave!

    How could this program be improved?

    While in Guatemala I don't think I would change anything. I wish that we had been given more information prior to the trip though.

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  • Jaime
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Appleton, Wisconsin
    University of Wisconsin
    Awesome
    06/13/2013

    Doctors challenged us to think critically in solving problems as well as allowed us to do many hands-on things that enhanced our learning experience. The ability to diagnose patients helped us learn the uses of different medicines and how they impacted people in different situations based on pregnancy status, age and other medical issues.

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  • Clemsonstudent2013
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Columbia, S.C.
    Clemson University
    Ineffable Experience
    06/13/2013

    There are no words to describe how positive an impact this VIDA trip had on myself and the poor communities in Guatemala. The six clinic days were the most rewarding days I've ever experienced in my entire life. One lady walked two hours up a mountain just to get her teeth cleaned because she couldn't afford a dentist. Another man had a blood sugar level of 28, which is extremely high and I didn't know someone could function at this level. Unfortunately he couldn't afford medicine so he was so thankful that we could provide a free referral for him. We experienced tuberculous, Down's syndrome, fractures, and Lupus. There were a lot of common cold cases but no matter the specific case, the hands on patient experience (2 or 3 students with an interpreter and patient) was incredible. It confirmed by beliefs that I want to be a nurse practitioner. The non clinic days were fun too. We did ziplining, a boat tour, and got a explore Antigua which was beautiful. This trip was definitely worth all the money and time put into it.

    How could this program be improved?

    Do not do a boat tour of the lake near Panajachel. It was a waste of a day. Instead let us hike a volcano or make chocolate in the chocolate factory in Antigua.

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  • Katherine
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Chicago
    University of Wisconsin
    GO ON A VIDA TRIP!
    06/13/2013

    This was honestly the best two weeks of my life. You get so much patient interaction and form close relationships with medical doctors from which you learn a LOT. You also get to see gorgeous parts of Guatemala and experience lots of different aspects of the culture. All of the staff was awesome and I'd go back in a heartbeat.

    How could this program be improved?

    I would change the town our free day was in to Panajachel since there's a lake there!

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  • Tina
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    United States
    Clemson University
    Life Changing Opportunity
    06/13/2013

    Interacting with the locals and making new friends were wonderful. You walk away with the irreplaceable feeling that you have helped someone, no matter how small the difference. This is the first time I've ever been out of the country and I can't wait to leave again, hopefully on another VIDA trip.

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  • Gwhatsup.
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    University of Wisconsin
    Life Changing
    01/19/2013

    I was so worried to travel down to Central America and I thought I was getting myself into something I would regret, but as we progressed into the trip in Guatemala, I realized this is something I want to do again. I enjoyed spending time in the clinic helping all of the people that came to get dental help. I liked how the dentists I shadowed wanted to teach me something while I watched what they did. I learned more from the 4 clinic days than I did by shadowing dentists here in the USA. The friendships I made on the trip were strengthened by the experiences that we endured together. Not everything on this trip was perfect, as 8 of my travelers got Salmonella, but this experience makes you realize that there is a whole world out there to be discovered. I am happy to have helped the people I helped. I really feel like I made a difference in their lives because VIDA gave me a chance to interact with them and learn about their lives. This trip has ignited the flame in me to really work hard to get into Dental School so that I may help others in this world.

    How could this program be improved?

    More time for interaction with the people and children that come to the clinic, I never got to really hang out with them.
    Have places to eat in mind for us, rather than just have us walk around and find a place.

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  • cynthiakay
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Minnesota
    University of Wisconsin
    Wonderful!
    01/19/2013

    I had a terrific time on this trip. I learned so much, not only about patient interaction, but about disease and medicine itself. The staff was patient, knowing that each student was at a different level in their education, and always teaching with every opportunity. I felt safe, but not smothered by the trip leader. Every problem that happened on the trip was handled wonderfully by the leader. Activities were planned during our time off so we weren't wandering aimlessly, but free time was also given.

    How could this program be improved?

    More time to get to know the staff outside of clinics would have been nice.

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  • SarahElizabeth
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Eau Claire, Wisconsin
    University of Wisconsin
    Not What I Expected
    01/19/2013

    I went to Guatemala not expecting much, but what I experienced while I was there was beyond anything I could have imagined. The VIDA staff was wonderful and all of the people that went on the trip were amazing. I arrived there not knowing any of the other volunteers personally and we all left as good friends. I would go on this trip again tomorrow if I could.

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  • happyguatemalantraveler
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Eau Claire, WI
    University of Wisconsin
    Best Experience of My Life
    01/18/2013

    The only bad part of the trip was when nine students got Salmonella from eating pink hamburgers in Antigua. Also a different student lost his passport. Both situations were handled really well by the staff. The rest of the trip was amazing. It made me appreciate what I have. In Guatemala toilet paper can't be flushed because of the bad plumbing system. I love the people there. They are so much more friendly and accepting than Americans. I had fun ziplining in Panajachel and going to the bars in Antigua. Edo was a great team leader, Luis was a great assistant team leader, the doctors were fantastic, and the interpreters became good friends. If you have a chance to go on this trip, do it, no matter the cost, because it's worth it, even if you don't know if you are for sure going to med school or dental school. JUST DO IT!

    How could this program be improved?

    More meals with VIDA maybe, it's hard to find good meals on your own. Also, more time to settle in when we first arrive.

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About the provider

Volunteer abroad with Vida in Central America! With Vida, you have the opportunity to gain experience in three main fields: medicine, dental health, and veterinary medicine. As a volunteer with Vida, you will work with local professionals in these fields in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Working with coordinators from the field, Vida Volunteer works to set up mobile clinics to provide easily accessible services to the people and animals of communities in need. Whether you are an aspiring health-care professional or just have a passion for helping others, Vida will provide you with a meaningful service-learning experience.