Why did you choose this program?
Foundation of Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) is a club on Oakland University campus, the school I go to. When attending one of the information sessions on my campus, I was inspired by what they stand for, and I knew I wanted to learn more about this program. After the information session, I checked out their website and social media. I found these to be extremely organized and well-structured. When I contacted them, they had great communication and customer service.
They gave us time off during the stay and allowed us to do excursions. They would even help set up the excursions by contacting the places and helping with transportation.
I have been on two trips now with FIMRC, and I truly know that this was the best choice for me.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The one thing we had to organize on our own was the flight there and back. It was optional and free of choice because they wanted it to be flexible between airlines and prices.
For the most part, everything else was handled. Home stay and transportation were included into a set price. However, if you chose to do an excursion, then you would have to pay for this separately. FIMRC was always amazing at helping set up safe and easy transportation.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Make sure you do some site-seeing and excursions. The time goes a lot faster than you think, and before you know it, you're on a plane back home.
Try doing some research on where it is your going; it helps to know what can be culturally acceptable and what isn't. Also, try to learn some of the language before you go. It’s a great way to connect with not only the locals but your home stay as well.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Being a participant in this program can vary on location or on what you get to do and don't get to do. Make sure you read about your location prior to going.
An average day/week on my trip to Costa Rica was laid out like a typical work week in the United States. You would wake up and have breakfast at 7 AM and catch the transportation bus by 8. We would then work at the clinic from 9AM to 5 PM roughly, with a half hour lunch break. This was your typical schedule Monday - Friday.
After each work day and on the weekends, you are free to do excursions, hangout with your host family and whatever else it is you would like to do.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
I was afraid that there was going to be a language barrier. Although I knew some Spanish, I knew certain places have different dialogues with how they speak. This was frightening to me. How would I get to places? How would I order something? A bunch of questions came into my head, and I tried to prepare for all of them. However, when I got there, I realized I had overreacted. More people than I thought spoke English, and the others were very understanding.
My views drastically changed as I continued my time there. People were just happy that you were helping them, and I learned new innovative ways to communicate with individuals. Do not let your fears deter or frighten you. Grow and learn from them.
Tell us a little more about you and a story about the trip you went on?
I am a senior nursing student at Oakland University. This summer, I was able to attend one of FIMRC’s amazing locations, Costa Rica. This was not my first trip with FIMRC, but it was by far my favorite.
The way you are able to immerse yourself into a community such as Costa Rica’s is incredible. During my stay, I was able to rotate through the clinic in all different areas, which helped me become an all-around better medical professional. Being able to check patients in, work in the pharmacy, and even being hands-on with actual nursing skills was an absolute joy.
There was one particular experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. A woman came in with severe skin decay related to a dog bite that she acquired. As I assisted in the help of cleaning, dressing the wound, and even at times holding the patient’s hand, I was mesmerized by the strength and courage she had that day.
Moments like these cannot be read in books or studied. These are truly life-changing moments that place a smile on my face when thinking about them. I cannot thank FIMRC enough for the opportunities and memories I will forever have!