MEDICINE & HEALTHCARE - Work side by side with medical staff at the local hospital

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About

Gain invaluable hands-on experience, working side by side with medical staff and fellow volunteers at a hospital or a neighborhood health clinic. This opportunity will give you an insight into the running and daily routine of a hospital or a neighborhood health clinic. You will experience the stark contrast between Western medical practice and the realities of medicine in developing countries. As the hospitals and clinics are still modernizing there are many challenges faced and as a result you will also see medical conditions that have remained untreated and have developed to an advanced pathological stage. Therefore this project not only provides you with responsibility, it also allows you to broaden your perspective by working at a hospital/health clinic in a developing country.
Furthermore, you can gain experience in a range of different departments and activities within the hospital/health clinic, such as: emergency, pediatric, maternity, diabetes, HIV and many more.

Highlights
  • Observe doctors and nurses from whom you can learn the best medical practices.
  • Change people's lives by informing them about HIV prevention.
  • Gain Spanish fluency by receiving up to six free lessons per week.
  • Go on trips and enjoy fun-filled adventures in various places across the Dominican Republic!
  • Experience the Dominican way of life and culture through community engagement.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

100%
based on 13 reviews
  • Impact 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
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Jordan
10/10

A unique experience

To all future volunteers around the world:
After 15 months spending with Aldeas de Paz, my stay comes to an end.So it's an occasion for sharing my experience, point of view and recommendation.

My place abroad was Las Terrenas on the peninsula Samaná in the Dominican Republic. I worked mainly in the cities public hospital.
It' been a long time. 1 year and 3 months is an extensive period spend abroad for a volunteer service, but for all that everyday was worthwhile.

Conception of time in the Dominican Republic is different to the ones a foreign person is used to. Schedules do not work out flawlessly nor appointments will always take place at the exact planned day and hour.
Gradually the progress is made.

Hence you, as a future volunteer should have in mind: the longer the stay the better!

You can not rapid start work in the Dominican Republic from day one on, neither will you see a terrific change and colossal impact during your stay.
This can be arduous to an arriving volunteer filled with creative urges, ideas, motivation and expectations.

During your stay you will face challenges. Nevertheless you will grow with each and learn about yourself and others. By and by you will master a new language, meet various people from around the world, exchange and put things into perspective and experience.
Which I had the great opportunity to.
Likewise myself, the organisation was growing and still is.

Aldeas de Paz is a sprouting and forthcoming NGO.
I am more than thankful for the opportunity of being a part of this Fundacion.
It is a chance of expansion of your own horizon - and for both sides for though the dissimilar living environments and - maxims plus savoir - vivre can fertilise one another.

Exceptional thanks to Vito, Coordinator of Las Terrenas, more of a friend, for always being amiable, available and keen.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Maya
10/10

Unforgettable Adventure

During my time in Santa Barbara de Samaná, I worked as a hospital volunteer, school volunteer at Mama Elba, as well as initiated my own project at the school Mama Elba. Although it was a short 5 weeks, I learned so much during my stay. Along with really experiencing the difference of healthcare that is found in Dominican Republic, as well as for the first time experiencing what it is like to teach, I learned a lot about myself and the culture of the Dominican Republic. Aldeas de Paz, more specifically Sebastian, did an amazing job making sure my trip went as smoothly as possible from the time before arrival all the way until the end. I really appreciated his support with everything and admired how hard he worked trying to make sure the foundation was running smoothly for all volunteers involved.

My time in the Dominican Republic, is truly indescribable. The food, the people, the music and the tranquility of the town really causes you to fall in love with the country. Creating the special connections I did with some of the hospital staff, my host family, and the students of the school really tied me to Samaná and has made my Dominican adventure unforgettable. The town is easy to grow accustomed to and to really meet and enjoy the company of the community members and local population. I would recommend either hospital placement or school placement because not only will you learn a lot about Dominican life, but the students and patients you see will teach you lessons in life and patience that no other job or university class will. Thank you so much Aldeas de Paz for an amazing time in Samaná, but I can assure you that I will be coming back soon.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Zoe
10/10

A great long-term voluntary service within the scope of the Medicine & Healthcare project

I had the chance to work in the public hospital ”Dr. Leopoldo Pou“ in Santa Barbara de Samaná for one year. Sent by the German Red Cross I helped out in different areas of the hospital where they needed help. That gave me a great opportunity to see how the medical system works in the Dominican Republic. I helped out for six months in the laboratory doing administrative work and helping improve procedures and the workflow. Then I had the chance to help for a few months with the digitalization of the patients' records at the HIV Station, to assist and observe a pediatrician and to assist the doctors and nurses in the Emergency Room.
While the services of the doctors and surgeons from the United States took part three times while I was here, act as a translater for them and assist in surgery. That was a great opportunity and one of the highlights of my voluntary service.
There were not just surgical services for humans but also for animals where I could participate in several times by assisting in the recovery station after the animals came out of surgery.
Beside my work in the public hospital (mostly in the morning), I gave first aid classes to tourist guides, members of the Dominican Red Cross, disabled children, vounteers and teachers in the Mamá Elba School. I also gave a computer class once a week and English classes twice a week to the community.
Regarding the organization itself, I really liked how our coordinator Sebastian supported us with everything. He was always there for us and motivated and willing to help.
I really had a great year here with Aldeas de Paz! I learned a lot of things, not just of medical nature. I would say that this year in the Dominican Republic helped me become more open-minded, more mature, able to integrate myself in another culture and able to live without having access to everything I am used to. It was a great enrichment for my personality.
That is why I can warmly recommend doing a long-term voluntary service at Aldeas de Paz in the Dominican Republic.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Lennart
10/10

Having the opportunity to stay in a foreign country for such a long time was great luck for me

I spent nearly 12 months in Samaná working in the medicine and healthcare program. Because I stayed here such a long time I got to experience various workplaces. At first I helped at the HIV station of the local public hospital “Dr. Leopoldo Pou” and I gained an insight of how HIV treatment is organized. In the afternoons I started to accompany a dentist in the beginning in the local hospital and later in a private practice. During the second half of my volunteer service I worked in the private clinic “Los cubanos”. My work was very varied. Most of the time I supported the medical staff as far as I could. Sometimes I was even allowed to assist during a wound treatment or I translated for the doctors when a foreign patient came.
Having the opportunity to stay in a foreign country for such a long time was great luck for me. Even now I do not have the feeling that I fully understand the Dominican culture but I definitely learned a lot here. Not just about the Dominican Republic, I was also able to improve my Spanish and I gained a few medical experiences. Already these benefits would have made the year unforgettable. But in addition the Dominican Republic offers a beautiful nature. It starts with the view of the Samaná Bay right in front of our apartments. Around the Samaná peninsula are furthermore various paradisiac beaches and at some point it became a luxury problem having to decide to which beach to go on the weekends.
All in all I am really happy that I volunteered here and grateful for the opportunity. The advantage of being a volunteer with Aldeas de Paz is that you can profit from numerous contacts which could help you for instance if you want to initiate a new project. Moreover our coordinators in Samaná were always available for our problems and very supportive. And last but not least you can profit from other volunteers! In the last 12 months I met very interesting and friendly people who broadened my horizon and with who I made a few unforgettable experience. And what else could you wish for than an interesting country, beautiful nature and amazing people?

Yes, I recommend this program
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Leonard
10/10

A year full of experience

My name is Leonard Bargfeld and I was working in a public clinic, with Aldeas De Paz, for one year. In Las Terrenas I was living in a flat with another volunteer which was perfectly fine for two persons. Even though powerouts appear time by time, welcoming colleagues, dream beaches and perfect weather indemnify such situations.
Getting used to the Dominican culture was at first not easy for me. Norms and values are not the same as in western countries, resulting of different circumstances.
I had a couple of problems to deal with. However, I learned that a problem is there to be solved. Comparing cultures is not the solution. After some time I realised that no culture is better or worse than another, there is just a difference and if you understand that, it will become easier to deal with all the things you normally could not deal with.
I’m grateful that I met so many people from all over the world, which were interested to broaden their horizons, like me. Additionally I gained a lot of experience, which is the most valuable thing to take back home.
The project in the UNAP Clinic in Las Terrenas was really interesting, the doctors and nurses were really welcoming, even though we had some communication problems in the beginning. During my year not only my Spanish developed but my knowledge about medicine and the health system too.
As you are able to discover the whole country I would recommend a stay of at least two month.
The organisation is still developing and tries to implement lots of projects. Everyone is really committed and passionate about their work.
I gained a whole variety of experience and I want to give a special thanks to: Vito (coordinator Las Terrenas). He is a hard working coordinator and helps out whenever help is needed. Vito tries to improve the organisation every day.
My friends and I had a wonderful time with him and I ́m really grateful that I had this opportunity in my life.
Thank you Aldeas De Paz!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Uemi
10/10

Think/Act like a Dominican

My name is Ümmühan and I’m 22 years old. I participated in a medical project from the organization Aldeas de Paz in the Dominic Republic. I worked in a clinic, which is called CLINICA ESPECIALIZADA INTERNACIONAL in Las Terrenas for 6 weeks. I’m currently doing an apprenticeship in the 3th semester as a nurse in Germany. I thought it would be difficult to change the way I work in the hospital because of the have different guidelines in both countries. For example: In Germany we have to use disinfection solutions after each contact with patients. But that doesn’t exist in the clinic, so you have to wash your hands with soup after each contact with patients. The nurses showed me everything in the first few days. After that it was easy for me to work, I gave injections, prepared medicine etc. I didn’t only learn the work in the hospital, I learned to think and act like a Dominican. And I liked that. The whole personnel of the clinic were like a family to me. They cared about me every single day. It was a good feeling. I can only recommend being a part of this Project. I got a lot of experience and I improved my Spanish skills as well. These were the goals, that I reached. I want to thank the clinic, Aldeas de Paz, the director and the coordinator, ¡Gracias por todo!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Caroline
10/10

My amazing adventure in Las Terrenas

My name is Caroline Neite. I worked with the organization Aldeas de Paz in Las Terrenas for six
weeks. I worked there as a volunteer in a private hospital because I participated in a medical
project. In Germany I am currently doing an apprenticeship as a nurse, so I can to study medicine afterward, therefore I saw the project as a great opportunity to improve my medical knowledge and to get more working experience in the professional field. What I can say after six weeks in the hospital is that I really learned and saw more things, which I did not learn or see in Germany before. It started with measuring blood pressure and later I was allowed to give intramuscular and intravenous injections. In addition to that I could assist in small operations, most of the time caused by accidents with “motoconchos“. When I had questions the Doctors and nurses always helped me a lot. That’s the reason why I have learned so many things about the effects from medicine and of course I could improve my Spanish a lot in speaking with the staff. My highlights definitely were to see bigger operations like a c- sektion or an ablation from an uterus. Of course the standards are a little bit different in comparison to Germany but the clinic is very modern and the methods they are using in the hospital are working very well.

About the organization I can say, that they always had time to help me when I had something I
wanted to speak about. Additionally I really enjoyed the time with the other volunteers and that
we all had our apartments in the same house. Every week on Monday we had a group meeting to speak about everything that is going good or bad. I liked that kind of exchange with the group and I would work with the organization again anytime. But not only the people I worked together with are really friendly, also the Dominican people are really openhearted and try to help whenever they can. I am sure that I will come back to Las Terrenas one day. Thanks for the great time!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kathy
10/10

Gain valuable experience in the medical field

I am not the average volunteer for Aldeas de Paz because I came to Samaná
with my husband and two children (ages 8 and 10). I am a nursing student
and ADP was one of the few organizations I could find through which I was
able to volunteer in a hospital without already being a fully trained
medical professional. During our 2.5-month stay, my husband worked at his
regular job (online from our apartment). Our kids had a local Dominican
nanny in the mornings and I home-schooled them in the afternoons.
Overall, we enjoyed our time in Samaná immensely! We loved exploring the
town and surrounding attractions, eating Dominican food, meeting the
friendly local people, and improving our Spanish. Manfred and Julia were
very responsive and helpful with any issues we had--whether small (the
electricity was out) or large (a brief hospital stay for my husband due to
Dengue Fever.)
I highly recommend ADP! It turned out to be a fun, safe place for our
family to be immersed in a different culture while I was able to volunteer
and gain valuable experience in the medical field.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Greta
10/10

I had such a good time here in the Dominican Republic

I had such a good time here in the Dominican
Republic. Mainly due to many nice people I met
and friends I made during my time with Aldeas de
Paz. They all amazed me by their incredible
heartwarming attitude and their heartwarming
attitude. My workplace at the hospital was really
interesting because I had the opportunity to work
with HIV patients and experience the medical
system of a developing country. The only
disadvantage was the fact that there was
sometimes not enough work for me and my
coworker because we did not have any
qualifications a nurse or a doctor would have had.
However, the people we worked with were very
supportive and willing to get in touch with us and
because of that I made some good friends in the
hospital.
I also enjoyed the free time activities we did
together. There are so many things to do,
especially going to the beaches and the bars!
A huge thank you to the Fundation which gave me
the opportunity to be part of a great team and also

to my coordinators who treated us like friends and
supported us during tough times.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Patrick
10/10

The other side of paradise

If you think of the Dominican Republic you will think of sun, hot weather, the caribbean and clear blue water. But this island has more to offer than you see as a regular tourist. To get to know the life in the Dominican Republic (DR) and fulfill a clerkship for my university I decided to live and work on the island for roughly a month. In the following I want to describe the experiences I gained.
My journey started with the simple idea of going abroad to get to know the daily life in a country very different to my home, Germany. Moreover I wanted to gain experience in my future carrier as a doctor. Therefore I searched the internet and found through studentsgoabroad.com the Aldeas de Paz foundation in Samana, DR. They offered exactly what I was looking for, a voluntary placement in a hospital in Samana with an accommodation among other volunteers in town. Finding the organisation was the hardest part, after that everything went smoothly; filling in applications, booking the flight and packing the suitcases. The Aldeas de Paz foundation gave very detailed information what to bring, especially as a volunteer in a hospital, such as uniform, gloves, etc. and always answered all questions I had concerning my journey. After getting all the necessary vaccinations, I started to freshen up my spanish skills again, which are very helpful for communicating with the patients.
The day of departure came faster than expected and I flew to the Dominican Republic. After a short stay at the capital I was already in Samana, got picked up by Manfred, the headcoordinator of the foundation and introduced to the other volunteers I will be living with. Just two days later, after I settled in and bought all necessities, I was already introduced to Dr. Flor, which is the head doctress of the hospital. She gave me a tour of the hospital and showed me where I will work in the next weeks. All in all a very smooth and fast start in my new volunteer work.
Working in the DR was a great experience. After getting used to different costums, for example that everybody talks at the same time in a very loud voice, I was able to get to know the doctors very well and became friends with them. The illnesses you see in the DR are different and in most cases more severe than in our western countries, such as infectiouse diseases. Overall working in the DR is very different than working in any western hospital. Even though technology is very advanced in the hospital, doctors rely more on basic observation and palpations skills, which teaches you all the basics, doctors in the western civilization may have forgotten. If you want to take the most out of the hospital experience, it helps if you know some spanish, but moreover you should speak up and say what you want. If you have any concernes ask Dr. Flor or Manfred, both of them are very eager helping you and making the most out of your stay. All in all working in such a hospital is a great experience that broadens your personal as well as medical perspectives on medicine and illnesses enormeously.
But the life in the DR is not just work. Weekends are always free to explore the huge variety the island has to offer. Just to mention some peaks: beaches even more picturouse than any textbook can show, mountains with gorgeouse, breathtaking viewpoints and stunning hikes. As well as great waterfalls and canyons which are hikable, or other adventurouse exercices such as scuba diving, paragliding, etc. Everything is possible in the DR and just a couple hours away from where we lived. To make it even better I was able to explore all of that with the other volunteers, new friends I got to know, who make those places even more remarkable than they are.
The huge blend of cultures within the volunteering group, as well as the culture of the inhabitants of the DR, makes you broaden your view extremly. I was able to get to know the locals well enough, thus advancing in spanish, and become friends with them as well as having friends now all over the world, through our volunteering group.
In summary I want to thank the Aldeas de Paz foundation with all the volunteers and espacielly Manfred and Dr. Flor without whom this project would not be possible. For me it was not just a great experience but I also left parts of me there which makes me sure to say that I will come back again to visit. Thanks Dominican Republic!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Medana
10/10

About my amazing time in Samaná

I'm Medana, i am from Germany, i did in Samaná one mouth volunteer at the hospital. Was a very interesting experience. I was working with doctors and nurses at the Pediatric, Emergency, Maternity,  Diabetics and Surgery. I was observing them how they work but in the same time i was helping them. I liked  to work in a hospital in Dom. Republic, is more different then in Germany. Was a experience that will help me for the future. I see a lot of things different now. The people here are very nice and friendly. 
I've lived with the host family. They are amazing people, very big and great family. We spend a lot of time together, we did trips together. They help me every time I need it. With them i start to know a lot about the country, culture and the town and i can speak better spanisch now. I hope i can see them soon. I spend also time with the other volunteers, we worked together,  we did excursions, we spend a lot of time together, we had very much fun. Was really nice here. The beaches are so beautiful. Is like paradise. My favorite was Playa Las Terrenas. There are more beaches to visit: Playa Rincon, Playa Las Galeras, Playa Cayo Levantado, Playa Escondida. This are amazing beaches to see.
I had a amazing time here and i want to thank you everyone who was in this project. I hope i can come back one day.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Julianna
10/10

An unforgettable experience

My volunteer work here in Samana has been a time that I will never forget. Prior to coming, I had very little experience in nursing, so I was eager to see what my work in the hospital would consist of. Rather than working in one specific area, I was able to experience many different areas of the hospital, which allowed me to see and learn an immense amount. From taking the blood pressure of diabetic patients to being taught what muscles were being cut in various surgical procedures, I truly enjoyed my time in the hospital. I also learned how to measure a pregnant belly (and interpret these measurements), properly give a shot, and analyze a newborn baby. Additionally, I taught you English to the medical staff at this same hospital. We introduced basic terms needed for everyday day life, as well as useful medical vocabulary and grammatical principles. This was one of the more rewarding experiences I had while in Samana, as these doctors and nurses continued to progress quickly and were always eager to learn and improve. For a week and a half of my months stay, I spent the afternoons working in the Mama Elba school for special needs children. Having a special needs brother myself, this is something I have always been passionate about and loved doing. Through helping them learn how to read and write and playing educationally stimulating games, I formed unique and fulfilling relationships. My time in the Dominican has been an unforgettable experience and one that I am grateful to have.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Christopher
10/10

I was effective and helpful which was very rewarding and made me waking up on the work days very excited for what was to come...

My name is Christopher Murray, I am entering my 4th year of University in Canada hoping to become a doctor someday, and I have just finished a 12-week volunteer placement in the Medicine and Health Care Program. My intentions with this program were to get some clinical volunteering experience unique to a developing, rural setting as well as to spend some time outside of my comfort zone. After 12 weeks, I am very satisfied with my experience after achieving what I wanted and more.
When I originally decided to come here, I had 4 months to prepare for the trip. Being from Canada, I had almost no exposure to Spanish prior to my decision so that was a major insecurity for me. Coming here, there is a major shock of having to operate in a completely foreign language but that is quickly subdued when you see that the locals are some of the most welcoming, understanding, and patient people you can meet. Many of the shop owners know some level of conversational English so when they realize you are not exactly a tourist, they are more than happy to exchange some conversational tips and practice with you. All you have to do is ask. There are also Spanish classes at both beginner and intermediate levels that are offered and they are absolutely superb for training your ear and building your Spanish grammatical base.
Specific to my program, I felt very accommodated to which I am so grateful for. Dr. Flor and Manfred both made sure that I could function properly wherever I was assigned and most importantly, they reciprocated being available and open to any feedback and ideas I had. In that environment, I felt that I was effective and helpful which was very rewarding and made me waking up on the work days very excited for what was to come.
Living in Samana has been an absolutely wonderful experience. Experiencing Samana reminded me of my docile home town but with a Caribbean twist. As I have mentioned before, the locals are extremely welcoming and nice which quickly made me feel comfortable and welcome. During the weekends, there was always something to do whether it was an impromptu trip to one of the local beaches, dancing at an outside discotheques on the Malecon, or an adventure exploring the island. One of the best aspects about participating with this organization is having volunteers here from all around the world to share experiences with. I absolutely loved the cultural exchanges that took place within the organization and I will always remember the friendships I made here.

Yes, I recommend this program

About Fundación Aldeas de Paz

We promote a Culture of Peace through enriching cross-cultural exchange for people of all cultural backgrounds and nationalities and we practice voluntary community service where we provide additional opportunities in education, sports, health care...