Alumni Spotlight: Chalen Yang

Chalen Yang is from St. Paul Minnesota and is 23 years old. He majored in Kinesiology as a pre-medical student and is now currently working as a personal trainer at a local gym. Chalen loves studying the human body in general, but specifically trying to find ways to improve the longevity of life.

VIDA medical volunteers

Highlights: My favorite part about volunteering would definitely be the patient interaction and learning about medical illnesses. It really helped me put the puzzles together to try to find the cause of the problem and also trying to find a remedy for the problem. Traveling to the villages was extremely eye opening because it allowed me to see how grateful I am to live in America compared to living in third world countries. It made me appreciate my life much more than before. Now that I am back in the United States, I will certainly think twice before buying unnecessary things.

Overall, my favorite part about the trip was definitely traveling to a country that is less developed. Learning about their culture and how they operate is very different. It really gave me more things to think about, especially about life and who I want to become when I finish school. I loved the culture in general. I am so passionate about going back to Central America that I am now learning Spanish again.

Morning: Breakfast starts at 7:30am, so most of the time we had to get up around 6:30am to get ready. Depending on which hotel you were staying at, sometimes you would have to travel to a different hotel to eat breakfast. When we were staying in Princess Hotel in Guatemala City, we ate breakfast inside of the same hotel. However, when we were in Antigua we had to walk to another hotel (which was only 1 block down) in order to eat breakfast.

After breakfast, we took off to our clinical VIDA site. Every location was different so the driving time was different. On average, it took about 45 minutes to drive to our clinic location. Once we got to the clinic site, we helped unload the bus and started to set up the clinic. Once all the clinics were set up, we started to accept patients and the day began. Clinics usually started around 9-9:30am.

Guatemala scenery

Afternoon: Every location is different. The first 2 days at the clinic was very busy. We went to a village where we had many patients and we were constantly working. However, we took a break once every 2 hours to keep the stress down and also to grab a few snacks. Lunch was provided by VIDA and we usually ate at noon- 1pm

Evening: Once we got back to the hotel from being at the clinic all day, everyone would usually shower or go straight to the restaurant to eat dinner. Dinner is up to the students to buy for themselves. VIDA does not provide dinner for the students, but that’s okay because it also gives the students the chance to explore the city and stores along the way to the restaurant.