Costa Rica Pre-Med/Public Health and Service Adventure

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Stay with local families in the Peñas Blancas region.
Nicaragua Pre-Med/Public Health and Service Adventure
Nicaragua Pre-Med/Public Health and Service Adventure

About

During this pre-med/public health focus program, students participate in activities with the Nicaragua Ministry of Health (MINSA), shadow physicians and healthcare professionals at MINSA outposts, as well as learn how to take blood pressure and other vital signs. Students also explore the historic city of Granada, bargain for goods in the National Artisan Market, visit and tour Volcán Masaya National Park.

Community service is at the heart of every Global Works trip and, on this one, students earn 30-50 community service hours by working alongside professionals at an NGO, planning and implementation of public health campaigns, assisting in the construction of double pit latrines as well as work with local, community health educators in promoting their use and maintenance, and constructing community wash stations in public schools and communities, which reduce hygiene-related disease. No prior language study requirements are needed.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 8 reviews
  • Growth 9.1
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 1 - 8 of 8
Default avatar
Liv
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-long Relationships

This trip to Costa Rica gave me so many things that I would’ve never had without taking the leap to go. I was scared and nervous, but the other kids on my trip were too. We all got along super well from the beginning, and I still talk to all of them almost every day. The people I met in Costa Rica as well changed my life. They gave me perspective and changed my point of view on a lot of things and I am forever grateful. Most importantly, I had boatloads of fun and would recommend for anyone possibly interested in a health care profession. The communities you visit are so welcoming and really want to build relationships with you. The leaders were great too. I still keep in contact with some of them as well. This program gave me so much and I will never forget it.

What was your funniest moment?
Staying in the hotels with all the girls and just laughing at everything.
Default avatar
Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Truly a Highlight of my Life

This trip was truly a highlight of my life. This experience was beyond my wildest dreams. I never thought as a high school student that I would be allowed to shadow a doctor, nurse, secretary or even become a pharmacist! The hands on experiences and opportunities to learn were far from how I imagined they would go. I have also never felt so confident in my spanish speaking abilities. I took Spanish classes in school and an additional program during a lunch period a week since I was in second grade. I have also taken 3 high school level Spanish classes as a rising junior in high school. This was the first time in my life that I had such an immersive Spanish speaking presence, between the doctors, patients, staff of establishments we visited, and our host families. Still somehow my favorite part of the trip were the people on it with me. I have met the most outstanding, brilliant, hilarious, and kind hearted people possibly ever. I absolutely loved our group dynamic. I know I have made friends for life. Additionally, the group leaders were always ready to help us with whatever we needed. They were trustworthy, reliable, and so sweet. They each offered and taught us new ideas and viewpoints, and guided us through a different style of life than we are used to. They served not only as leaders, teachers, counselors, and first in line of contact, but as friends.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
One thing I would change would be my attitude in the very beginning of camp. I had assumed that the trip would feel super long since the first day (17 days!!?). Yet after the fifth, I already knew it was going to feel too short. I wish that I had taken advantage of spending more time with the group in the beginning, because now it is unlikely that we will ever all meet at the same time and place again. We made amazing friendships, and it was so difficult to leave each other in the airport. So, if I had the chance to do it all again, I would be more aware of how special the opportunity is to meet new people and gotten more out of my shell when we all first landed in Houston.
Default avatar
Kellie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

wonderful hands on learning experience for students interested in global health

This is the third international service trip my high school daughter has done. She wanted to find a program that concentrated on health care and not just playing with kids in an orphanage. She found it! Incredible experiences working in clinics and working directly with patients. They had informative speakers and programs and gave the students a chance to see what they would experience if they continue in this field of work. The living conditions are not glamorous. The homestay consisted of buckets of water for a shower and an outhouse through the jungle. But what an experience. When my daughter returned, we asked if this changed her mind about pursuing global health. She said, yes it did. She knows she wants to continue in this field but wants to consider medical school because she wants to be the one providing the care, like the Doctors, Nurses and Dentist that she worked with on this trip. Invaluable experience that we would highly recommend.

Default avatar
Michaela
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Be More Than A Tourist!

Anyone who wants to see the world outside of a five star hotel should consider coming on this trip. It will challenge you, inspire you, and teach you, all against the beautiful backdrop of Nicaragua. Whether you chose the Pre-Med/Public Health trip because you want to be a doctor, you wanted to experience the culture of South America, or you just needed some community service to graduate, there is something in this experience for you! Once you arrive in country, you will be surrounded by great group members who hail from across the country. You will be immersed in environments ranging from the bustling, dynamic, art-filled city to the agriculturally rich, home-y feeling mountains. And all along the way, you will encounter warm, friendly locals who are guaranteed to inspire you with their work ethics, resiliency, and genuine hospitality.
I came home from this Global Works trip with a new understanding and sensitivity to the issues facing Nicaragua and its neighbors today. I had a sense of confidence in my ability to adapt to new environments. And I felt more inspired to promote cultural appreciation and social change back in my U.S. community. I hope you'll feel the same. Then again, the only way to find out is to experience this wonderful country for yourself.

What would you improve about this program?
More group language activities would have been helpful. Since there is no Spanish language (or premed) requirement to go on this trip, not everyone has experience with Spanish. This can lead to some interaction difficulties at worksites and in homestays, and while this is not a major problem, some non-Spanish speakers will struggle to connect with locals and fully immerse themselves in environments outside the group.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Ella
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Extremely Eye Opening and Rewarding

This trip was a once in a life time opportunity. The reason I chose this program was because of the public health and medicine focus. We observed doctors in clinics and laboratories in the city, to installing water pipes in small communities, to water clean projects in the mountains. We also meet with NGOs to learn more about the history of Nicaragua. It was interesting to learn how different communities adapted to their situations. For example in places with low literacy rates, we helped paint murals that gave instructions on how to avoid getting Dengue Fever. It was the most rewarding to collaborate with communities and help them achieve their goals, as well as learn about their culture, different cuisines, and even dances. The staff, students, and locals I worked with were all immensely welcoming and hardworking.

What would you improve about this program?
Overall the program was great, but the only thing I would change would be maybe not having home stays at the beginning of the trip because then the group was divided and didn't really get to bond until the end.
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Brittany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Works is the way to go!

This trip being a custom one was quite unique since it was based on gaining a medical experience and learning about the Nicaraguan culture at the same time. I've got to shadow some doctors and nurses at the local hospitals, get my hands dirty by digging a trench with a pick axe and shovel, and teach third graders about proper hygiene. I have learned to value the basic necessities I take advantage of back home, especially hot water. There were many first-time experiences for me, such as bargaining, zip-lining, and seeing bats. This was truly a wonderful experience for me.

What would you improve about this program?
There are no major things I would change, but maybe have some more variety in the food that we eat.
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ksylvester
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Trip and Great Memories

Getting to go to a foreign country alone is always fun. I loved how the group was really small (5 boys 5 girls), so we really got to bond with the other members and the staff. The best part was definitely the homestay and getting to ski. Over the summer my spanish improved, but I did lose most of it once I got back to school. Overall though, it was extremely fun.

What would you improve about this program?
I would maybe plan out the community service a little better (lets maybe not go back to the guarani community and make sure we have a good type of paint thats not too thin when we decide to completely paint the walls of a scary house), and enforce that we speak spanish a little more forcefully (i never really spoke spanish except at the homestays)
Default avatar
Lay
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

My stay in Nicaragua was my first experience away from home alone, and it was definitely an experience of a lifetime. The Global Works leaders were accommodating and approachable, and I was ecstatic to discover the similarities I shared with many of the other people on the trip. To this day, I am still in touch with the wonderful people in my group; we still share memories from this life-changing trip that brought us together. It was a thrill to be immersed in the rich, colorful Nicaraguan culture filled with amiable, welcoming Nicaraguans. Although there was often a language barrier, we had laughs about the misconceptions that resulted, and our leaders were helpful in clearing the misunderstandings.
During the clinical rotations, I found myself comparing the Nicaraguan practices with the procedures in the U.S., and I was amazed by the marginal differences. For example, while gauze is manually folded and sterilized in Nicaragua, it is crafted by machines in the U.S. Furthermore, before this trip, I had only heard about the poverty and resource shortages in developing countries--living in these conditions made them a reality. I truly learned to appreciate the luxuries in the U.S. that I had taken for granted my entire life such as hot showers, excellent drainage, clean water, air conditioning, technology, wifi, and our seemingly endless supply of medicine (pharmacies in Nicaragua frequently ran out of medicine, as they often received merely one shipment each month). Moreover, it was rewarding to see the community's appreciation for our service projects. I cannot express how rewarding it felt to see the community's gratitude for our contributions. The mere knowledge that I had made a difference in the community was comforting.
Witnessing these critical conditions firsthand has raised my awareness of developing countries' conditions; overall, this experience has motivated me to take action, because it is truly rewarding to make a difference in peoples' lives.

What would you improve about this program?
I would have included more pre-med-related activities, since this trip is supposed to be geared toward pre-med studies; the reforestation efforts and building of hand-washing stations were not as pre-med as the clinical rotations during the first week of the program.

Location

Location:
Costa Rica
Currency:
Costa Rican Colón
Weather:
Jan-Mar
83 F / 67 F
Apr-Jun
85 F / 69 F
Jul-Sep
85 F / 69 F
Oct-Dec
83 F / 67 F
Airports:
Juan Santamaría International Airport
( SJO )
Limón International Airport
( LIO )
Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport
( LIR )

A pioneer of ecotourism, Costa Rica draws many tourists to its extensive series of national parks and other protected areas. Costa Rica began reversing deforestation in the 1990s, and they are moving towards using only renewable energy. Head to the cloud forest, relax on the beautiful beaches or visit a coffee farm.

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About Global Works

For more than 28 years, Global Works has been an industry leader in community service-based adventure travel programs for high school students and custom group trips. Much more than a vacation, Global Works international trips are the bridge for...