Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program because in the past, we have had success working with them. We traveled with our student organization, American Medical Students Association here at college. This organization has used this program multiple times in the past and have had success with them each time.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The program provided us with a list of possible excursions that we were able to do on our trip. From there, we worked individually to plan out our week.
Our University gave us a grant to pay for the program fees for the trip. Everything else we did with the others going on the trip.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Be ready to move outside of your comfort zone. You may be going into this experience with an idea of what you are going to do.
You and you only are in charge of what happens. If you want to do something cool or participate in a new opportunity you are in charge of making that happen.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Our group participated in the medical project because we were all premedical students. We woke up around 6:30 in the morning. We caught a bus to take us to our specific clinics around 7. We started our days at 8 am and worked at the clinic until noon.
At the clinic we took vitals, gave vaccines, shadowed doctors and nurses and conversed with patients.
In the afternoon, we explored the city or participated in excursions like visiting Mayan Ruins or climbing a volcano. At night we ate dinner with our host family and then either stayed in or went out to some local bars.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was not being able to connect with the locals. I was able to converse with them because I knew Spanish however I was not sure if I would be able to to the have the experience I wanted.
Looking back, I realize that the experience I had was everything and more. I had such a great time.
I had such an amazing experience specifically because I was able to step out of my comfort zone and communicate with the locals.
What are some of the highlights from your trip?
I honestly really enjoyed meeting the people I did and making the relationships I did. I met some awesome people at the clinic, my host family and with the program and agency.
I made great friends in Guatemala who I still talk to after having left, and make me want to come back to Guatemala in the future. Also, I became such good friends with the people who went on the trip and we still get together after the trip.