Alumni Spotlight: Patrick Harris

Patrick Harris is from Boulder, Colorado. He volunteered at the Sukraraj Hospital for Tropical and Infectious Diseases in June 2011. He is a premedical student who enjoys writing, traveling, and reading.

Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Volunteering Solutions in Nepal?

Patrick: As a pre-medical student, I'd been looking for any way that I could volunteer internationally while also allowing me to get more experience in medicine. I found the Volunteering Solutions website as my sister had been looking at it, and it seemed like a perfect option.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer?

Patrick: Every morning I woke up at 6-7am and ate breakfast with my host family. Then, I got ready and went to Teku Hospital. I accompanied the doctors on grand rounds through the hospital where I learned about various patients and diseases. After rounds, I went to the anti-retroviral therapy clinic where I helped to keep patient records while the doctors quizzed me on things they taught me the previous day. I usually got out of work around 2-3 PM and usually joined my fellow volunteers for a late lunch and then explored Kathmandu until evening when I took a taxi back to my host home.

What was the highlight of your trip?

Patrick: The highlights of my trip were:
1. getting to see conditions I'd never seen before and
2. the evening and weekend trips around the city and to the surrounding country.

My advice to other volunteers is not to say no to any experiences, even those things that may not seem great can be some of the most interesting and incredible experiences you will ever have.

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, etc)

Patrick: This trip was truly an eye opener. Getting to see a different culture and immerse myself in it while getting to learn new things and help others has been a truly rewarding experience which has deeply instilled in me a desire to continue volunteering internationally once I become a physician.