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United Hatzalah Colombia

About

When emergencies occur, rapid medical treatment increases chances of survival exponentially. Using specially equipped motorcycle ambulances, United Hatzalah’s colombia network of more than 75 volunteer medics help save thousands of lives each year across Colombia by providing medical treatment in an average response time of 3 minutes or less. Our humanitarian services are free, universal and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. we allso use normal Ambulances. and run clinics

with us you will not only learn how to save a life, you will get to save a life! we respond to emergencies 24 hours all year around. you will get to Volunteer with us in our ambulances.

Attention Pre-Med Students!

If you would like to get hands-on experience in the field, join us! In Colombia, you will not be shadowing-- you will be doing.
Founded
2017

Reviews

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Mike
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hatzalah Colombia has been one of the best traveling experiences I have ever had. As someone who has traveled most of my life, backpacking and teaching abroad, Hatzlaha has given me the best immersion experience I could of asked for. I am an EMT in the United States but working abroad and working with Hatzlaha Colombia has given me more hands on experience with Trauma and Crisis cases vs. doing clinicals in the US. From the amazing, helpful, courteous and well rounded staff, to the heroic co-workers at the station, being apart of not just an "Ambulance Service" but the community has given me the best experience abroad. Hatzalah is a 10 out of 10.

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Jake
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

United Hatzalah Colombia has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Coming to Colombia was the first time I left the United States, so I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. But Mike and the team have done an excellent job of welcoming me into Colombia and into the Hatzalah family. Immediately I fell in love with the area, the people, and my work. Beyond responding to emergencies and building on EMT skills, I have been able to work on my Spanish and also learn from the experiences of the people around me. What I appreciate more than anything is how accommodating Mike and Hatzalah have been. While working in Colombia I am able to dedicate time working towards my Master’s Degree, as well as having time off to explore and have fun. I know that I have made friends for life here and I am beyond grateful for each and every day I have spent in Colombia with Mike and Hatzalah. If you are already looking into this program, just go for it! You will not be disappointed!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be intimidated. Before leaving for Colombia I had recently gotten certified as an EMT-B in the United States. However, due to COVID-19 my "class" was conducted as a self-paced online course with only two days of practical tests at the end. I was nervous about attending real emergencies because of my lack of experience. However, Mike and Hatzalah gave me the confidence and training needed and I immediately felt at ease attending real emergencies. Moreover, I spoke very (very) little Spanish before I arrived. THIS SHOULD NOT DETER YOU!!! The people here will work with you and are extremely patient.
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Carmen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From start to finish this program truly changed my life. The great part about this program is that there is so much to learn and Mike and his team give you the tools do it all. Wether it was on the the back of the famous Hatzalah motorbikes zooming through downtown Medellin or preforming CPR on a patient while going to the hospital, I was able to do so much. What was truly amazing was being able to help those less fortunate, especially during the holidays was so special and to this day I'm so humbled by it. Thanks to Mike and his team for an experience that I'll always remember!

What was your funniest moment?
Treating a patient who had crush injuries from a pig falling on them. I will always remember that.
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AJ
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

WOW! Just WOW! This EMT program is truly life changing in the best possible way. Mike is incredibly communicative, supportive and truly makes this program so enjoyable. There are plenty of programs where you can shadow medical professionals but if you actually want to save lives, this is for you! By doing this program, I was able to help people from all walks of life while learning about Colombia’s amazing culture. Couldn’t recommend enough! Thanks to Mike and the team, can’t wait to come back, this changed my life.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I think the most surprising thing but in the best way was just in once day, practicing my CPR skills on a mannequin and the exact same day I was doing CPR on someone in cardiac arrest. It was great being able to put my skills to use.
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Hanna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Honest just the break I needed and was looking for! In the middle of this Corona chaos, was just an amazing feeling to be able to go abroad, volunteer save lives, and help people in need!

I learned so much through this opportunity. I know the volunteer work I did saved lives and had a huge impact on the community and helped a lot of people in need.
I treated a total of 127 patients during the month I was in Colombia and worked alongside the most amazing group of Hatzalah volunteers. Daily work included but not limited to patrolling, treating patients, and a lot of learning. I came to the program with only very basic first aid training and left with the knowledge that I can and have saved lives. The patients we treated varied from taking basic vitals all the way to intense trauma cases that without us would not survive.
I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who wants to do something to benefit their future and the world around them. Additionally, for anyone who wants to truly get to experience and be a part of another culture instead of just visiting Colombia.

What was your funniest moment?
When we had my graduation ceremony, that was such a fun night! with all the volunteers from Hatzalah.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I wanted to go abroad to gain experience in how other ambulance services operate. I have always been fascinated by the hatzalah model and how they respond in a maximum of 3 min to all the emergencies. So for me, there was no doubt: I had to go and work with Hatzalah Colombia! Colombia is a country I always wanted to visit.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I contacted Mike from Hatzalah Colombia, and the same day we had a Skype video chat - he showed me the base and all their ambulances! Two weeks later, I was on my way to Colombia.

When I arrived, they did a 3-day course for me. I am a professional EMT, but I still did learn a ton of new stuff on the course. They use a lot of technology, and for me, it's brand new how they always send a fast response motorbike to stabilize the patient until the big ambulance arrives.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Embrace it! You will for sure get tested physically and mentally, but you can do it! And don't be afraid to practice your Spanish! I did not speak much Spanish, but the patients and families are so understanding.

I also, prior to my trip, did a lot of physical training to get in shape, and it honestly did pay off. You don't need to be a Superman, but it for sure helps to be in shape.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

There is no average day - it's never the same! That's what I love about the EMT world: no day is ever the same!

They use a lot of technology, and for me, it's brand new how they always send a fast response motorbike to stabilize the patient until the big ambulance arrives. After my training, I was working alongside there the whole team. I did respond to every emergency you can imagine - from urban to the mountains of Colombia.

This course is honestly the best I could have done, I am today using many skills I learned from my time in Colombia in my daily work as an EMT. I can't wait to be back with Mike and the team one day!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

When we did our mountain rescue course. We had to climb a mountain, and after that, repel 178 meters.

It was for sure nerve-wracking, but so much fun. I had to trust my training, and I knew I had the skills to do it! I have had vertigo since I was a little girl, so you can for sure imagine this was a really big fear for me.

What is your favorite memory of this trip?

My favorite story about this program is how the Hatzalah Colombia work.

They are the only free emergency and ambulance service in Colombia. These guys don't get any money from the government or the people. I think it's so amazing to see free emergency services in a world where health is a business and not about saving lives!

These guys are simply a bunch of superheroes working day and night to save lives!