Vida Medical, Dental & Veterinary Programs in Guatemala

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Vida Medical Volunteer Programs in Guatemala
Vida Medical Volunteer Programs in Guatemala

About

Guatemala is the biggest country in Central America. Unfortunately, it also sets a record by having one of the highest disparities between rich and poor as well as one of the highest poverty levels worldwide, with 54% of the population living below the poverty line in 2006 and 54% in 2011.

We currently intervene through three main fields of work: Medical, Dental and Veterinary, which are designed to promote health, ensuring a long-lasting impact while students develop both intercultural & leadership skills in a real-world context.

Vida offers a unique positive learning environment that will completely change your perspective on the idea of serving others. Students have a chance to work with local licensed professionals while providing services to the communities we have partnered with.

Highlights
  • Hands-on experience while working with local doctors, dentists and veterinarians
  • Cultural Immersion

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 34 reviews
  • Impact 9.6
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 34
Arleah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a Lifetime

Vida’s medical mission trip is an experience all students who are interested in the health field should go through. I’ve had plenty of medical and clinical experience, but Vida provides a unique experience that you can only get through Vida. I am a coordinator and although this was my first trip, I felt well prepared prior to the trip. The staff members go above and beyond to make you feel comfortable, prepared, and at home while on the trip. They are approachable, they care about your safety, and they truly want you to grow as a person and healthcare professional. The Vida staff has become like a second family to me. The feeling you have during and after this trip is indescribable and can only be understood once you go on the trip. The clinic days are productive and you truly feel the impact you make as the communities are so grateful. The recreational days allow you to rest and recharge, while immersing yourself a little more into the culture and surrounding cities. The host families treat you like their own family and is a great opportunity to learn and delve deep into the culture and communities you’re living and helping in. The team leaders are both the perfect mix of professional and personable. The lead doctor and healthcare professionals during the trip are more than willing to teach you and mentor you providing an opportunity most students won’t get until they’re in their respective programs. All in all, this experience can be defined as “wholesome, a great learning opportunity, and a chance to create another home/family away from home.”

What would you improve about this program?
During orientation, aside from practicing vital signs and physical exams after the thorough presentation, it’d be great to do a mock/practice of what to expect the day of clinic. For example, tying the presentation and vital signs practice together by doing a mock of a patient coming in and practicing the steps of how to introduce yourselves and what to do next along with what to write on the medical records sheet. The first day was a great opportunity to learn how clinic would run, but doing a trial and practice during orientation would be even more beneficial. Overall, the program was great as is. The host family I stayed with was so sweet and I’m forever grateful for this opportunity.
Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing opportunity and great way to impact lives!!

This trip was a great way to be submersed into a new culture. As students we learned so much by being in on the action in clinic days. We not only got to experience a new style of healthcare, but got to experience an entire new way of life. I believe this trip is an amazing step in becoming a well rounded person by donating your time while still having a fun and educational time. In our trip we got to see over 300 patients, and this allowed us to get a wide variety of cases. The people were extremely kind, and it was great to spend time with them in their day to day lives. Also, the views and the food were absolutely delicious! I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world and believe that anyone with this opportunity should jump at it!

What would you improve about this program?
I don’t think that this trip was lacking in anyway. One thing I would recommend is that there be a more clear idea of the costs during the trip i.e. food. I think it helps to plan better when we are told average costs of a meal so we can plan ahead and not worry about running out of money.
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Madelyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Worth Every Cent I Spent

This trip was the best thing I have ever spent money on. Not only did I serve the underserved, Vida also made time for us to truly experience another culture. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever done, as cliche as it sounds. Healing people, diving into a new culture, exploring Guatemala, and experiencing it all through Vida. I felt very safe and well taken care of the entire trip. They had the best team leaders for us that made sure we were safe and happy throughout the whole trip. I will go on this trip every year that I possibly can, it was better than any other trip I have ever been on and I truly recommend it to anyone considering! I would recommend a reusable water bottle to bring on this trip and something to carry your passport around with you at all times.

What would you improve about this program?
Possibly the last hotel we stayed at in Panajachel wasn't at the same level of quality as the other hotels throughout the trip. Other than that, this trip truly changed my life.
Savannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Exactly what I was seeking!

I had an incredible experience with Vida Guatemala over New Years 2015-2016. The experience I gained at clinics was great. Volunteers work in pairs, and with an interpreter, and fill out a paper chart of the rural patient's current concerns and health history. Volunteers formulate the right questions to lead to a diagnosis, which is proposed to a local physician. The physicians all did a great job of educating the student volunteers on what other questions needed to be asked, signs and symptoms to check for, and where they went in the correct or incorrect directions when diagnosing the individual. Then, the physician asks questions to formulate the true diagnosis and the patient receives free medication or a referral to another external clinic. In this program setup I was able to see 10-12 patients/families per day, and learned a ton of medical knowledge. The clinics are well run, safe, and reputable. Being conducted in isolated areas means my participation in the program brought healthcare to those towns and had a true impact. Hearing of the poverty and health disparities was a great educational experience and impacted my future medical practice and goals significantly. This program helped solidify my career choice as a physician, and as an incoming medical student I am sure this knowledge will help me and my peers be more aware of global health situations.

Trips every few days were fun, there was a beautiful lake to see (Atitlan), accommodations were nice. Everything was safe, and we received appropriate amounts of guided excursions and free time. I always felt supported by the local staff, and was well supported prior to travel to the country.

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Katie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Vida vet trip to Guatemala

Had an amazing time with my friends. Brought us together As a medical and surgical team. Improved my physical exam skills. Learned about a lot of diseases that we may not see commonly in a US veterinary clinic. Learned how to communicate in a language I was not familiar with Really opened my eyes to pet care in a third world country. Earned a grant from UW Wisconsin for our work in educating these children on how to take care of an animal. Wish I could have gained more surgical skills. I would love to go back in the future as a veterinarian, and Teacher. This won't let me leave a review unless it's 200 characters, which I find really really unfair. Because I have some good things to say about the program. Am I at 200 characters yet?

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John
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Worthwhile, Eye opening

We travelled to many different towns and villages. Clinics were about 8-9 hours a day, but the patients made time fly. The doctors were knowledgable and loved to teach. Side trips were great too. Cliff diving in Lake Atitlan, zip lining, etc.

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Shelly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Guatemala!!

I've been doing VIDA trips for 5 years now.. This has been my fourth trip, and my first in Guatemala... all I can say is it was amazing! We had our homestays in Ixtahuacan for only 2 nights, and I wish we could have stayed longer. We also visited Panajachel and Antigua. The country is breathtaking, the people are extremely nice and hospitable, the shopping opportunities are endlessly filled with beautiful textiles, the food is delicious, and the program was fantastic.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish the homestays in Ixtahuacan were longer!
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Elizabeth
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Simply amazing!

I've been on two VIDA veterinary trips--last year in Costa Rica and this year in Guatemala--and I have to say that this year was even better than last year! The areas that we went were spectacular and had enough patients to keep us busy, while the recreational days were beyond amazing. Can't wait to go next year!

What would you improve about this program?
I would like to have even more patients than we had this year. Towards the end of every day, most of us were just sitting around with nothing to do.
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Logan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VIDA will take you on an amazing adventure!

I am a pre-med student who went to Guatemala with the VIDA med team. We had six clinic days and several adventure days. Clinic days consisted of 8-hour clinics where we analyzed patients' concerns, history, symptoms, etc. and then worked directly with the doctors to diagnose and treat their conditions. On the adventure days we did things like tour the lake, cliff jump, zip line, and other things that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own. We always stayed in very nice hotels in somewhat touristic areas that were safe to explore. We always had to be with at least one other person, but we were frequently given free time to explore the area, go to bars and restaurants, dance clubs, etc. Overall it was an amazing experience. Very safe and definitely worth the money. All the fun of discvering a new culture in a beautiful country plus the experience of providing medical care and the joy of helping people in need.

What would you improve about this program?
Sometimes the patients would have to wait a long time because there were only two doctors. They were always very thorough and made sure that we and the patient understood everything. These are all good things but they make the process slower, so they should have at least one more doctor at each clinic site. Homestays would have been a very interesting experience also, but these have not been set up in Guatemala yet as they have been in some of the other countries in which VIDA operates.
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Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Guatemala

Got to do everything a vet would do on a daily basis with their supervision so it was both a challenging yet amazing experience. I learned so much and got to spend time in the country that I love.

What would you improve about this program?
If possible, more clinic days. That was by far my favorite part
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Michelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience for Possible Med Students

It was amazing to meet such a welcoming staff with the programs and meetings set up so that the participating students are prepared for the clinic days. The clinic days are also a great opportunity for students to both experience hands-on medical work as well as learn in detail how to diagnose patients. Clinic days are mixed in with recreational days for participants to explore the country as a group.

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Megan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

VIDA Medical, Dental, and Veterinary Programs in Guatemala

I would recommend this trip for any pre-health student because of the opportunities you can explore. I was involved in the Veterinary program and I can honestly say it was the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I was able to personally help with surgeries and do consults for many dogs and cats. I have no idea where else you'll be able to be so involved and learn the amount of information I did in only two weeks. It was a life-changing experience for me and I want more than everything to go on another VIDA trip. You'll also form close friendships with your fellow trip members because you share a common purpose and I can guarantee you'll absolutely not want to leave!

What would you improve about this program?
While in Guatemala I don't think I would change anything. I wish that we had been given more information prior to the trip though.
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Jaime
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome

Doctors challenged us to think critically in solving problems as well as allowed us to do many hands-on things that enhanced our learning experience. The ability to diagnose patients helped us learn the uses of different medicines and how they impacted people in different situations based on pregnancy status, age and other medical issues.

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Clemsonstudent2013
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ineffable Experience

There are no words to describe how positive an impact this VIDA trip had on myself and the poor communities in Guatemala. The six clinic days were the most rewarding days I've ever experienced in my entire life. One lady walked two hours up a mountain just to get her teeth cleaned because she couldn't afford a dentist. Another man had a blood sugar level of 28, which is extremely high and I didn't know someone could function at this level. Unfortunately he couldn't afford medicine so he was so thankful that we could provide a free referral for him. We experienced tuberculous, Down's syndrome, fractures, and Lupus. There were a lot of common cold cases but no matter the specific case, the hands on patient experience (2 or 3 students with an interpreter and patient) was incredible. It confirmed by beliefs that I want to be a nurse practitioner. The non clinic days were fun too. We did ziplining, a boat tour, and got a explore Antigua which was beautiful. This trip was definitely worth all the money and time put into it.

What would you improve about this program?
Do not do a boat tour of the lake near Panajachel. It was a waste of a day. Instead let us hike a volcano or make chocolate in the chocolate factory in Antigua.
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Katherine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GO ON A VIDA TRIP!

This was honestly the best two weeks of my life. You get so much patient interaction and form close relationships with medical doctors from which you learn a LOT. You also get to see gorgeous parts of Guatemala and experience lots of different aspects of the culture. All of the staff was awesome and I'd go back in a heartbeat.

What would you improve about this program?
I would change the town our free day was in to Panajachel since there's a lake there!