Alumni Spotlight: Olivia Brant

Olivia Brant volunteered in Nicaragua from August 1-14, 2010. She was 19-years-old on her trip and is from Cumberland, MD.

Why did you decide to volunteer with VIDA in Nicaragua?

Olivia: I decided to volunteer with VIDA because a group of students from University of Maryland were going and one of my best friends told me about the program.

Olivia and the other medical volunteers in Nicaragua

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Olivia: Daily activities included breakfast with my host family (which I really enjoyed), a few hours at a clinic, some free time, and usually a scheduled dinner when my group would meet up. On a few occasions we all went out after dinner to a discoteque, roller skating, or to play soccer.

There were also a few days that we did not volunteer at clinics. We visited a hot spring, climbed a volcano, swam in Lake Nicaragua, and ziplined through the rain forest. My favorite memories were made on these days. As a volunteer at the clinics, we were responsible for taking patient vitals and communicating via translator what was ailing the patients.

What advice do you have for future volunteers?

Olivia: I would advise future volunteers to donate more medical supplies than they feel necessary. When I was preparing for my trip, I did not really take this part too seriously. Through my experience, I came to find that supplies are needed more than I had assumed, and I think everyone who as volunteered with VIDA would say the same. My hometown community was very supportive of my trip and donated a lot of supplies after my VIDA volunteer trip was featured on the front page of our newspaper.

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

Olivia: This experience has been very beneficial when trying to find a job. It is a great volunteer experience that give you a lot to talk about during interviews and on your resume.