By Kamakshi Katwala, 2018-2019 SCS Student Advising Leader:
Get Involved – Medical Service Trips
There are many ways to spice up your resume as a pre-medical student for potential recruiters and for institutions for further education, and one of the best ways of doing this is by medical service trips. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to Managua, Nicaragua to work with other student volunteers and local physicians to provide free clinics in various small towns throughout Masachapa. We traveled between small towns throughout Nicaragua and over the course of four clinic days, we diagnosed and treated over 570 people who didn’t have access to or could not afford proper healthcare. For example, one of my patients seemed to have experienced loss of eyesight in one eye, and through our examination of him, we discovered he was experiencing the early stages of glaucoma and now he has all the resources to go get his eyes treated in a proper facility. Out of all the patients we saw, many of them were suffering from parasitic infections and many gastrological illnesses, which they have now received medications for that are hopefully alleviating their symptoms. Working in a third world country for medical service trips also poses one huge advantage in comparison to working in the United States at a hospital – we were allowed to examine patients at a greater extent than what is allowed here. Here we are restricted by laws while in Nicaragua, everyone considered us medical students to be at the same level as a doctor. We could check their pulse and blood pressure and even ask medical history and symptomatic questions, something we wouldn’t be able to do here without a medical degree. While In one full week, we developed some lifelong relationships and contributed to the overall well-being of many residents of a country that I hadn’t believed I would ever visit. Additionally, I learned a lot about the culture of Nicaragua by touring various cities and I had a lot of practice with speaking Spanish, which will broaden my opportunities in the future. Not only will this trip look great on my resume, but it also gave me some great experiences and taught me what my future as a physician might be like. Thus, I highly recommend getting involved outside of your coursework in your field of interest – whether that be through volunteering, medical trips, RSOs, internships, co-ops and/or research.