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December 9, 2013

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December 9, 2013

I was part of CFHI's Intensive Beginner Spanish and Healthcare in Oaxaca, Mexico program from October 2013 to November 2013. I had an amazing time in Oaxaca learning about the healthcare system and exploring the beautiful city of Oaxaca. Being apart of this program allowed me to gain plenty of first hand experience in the medical field. During my program I volunteered at a rehabilitation center for children and got to see many different types of therapies and also directly help the facility by taking care of the children. I also rotated through a hospital and a community clinic. Through my rotations I was able to witness a child birth, which was defineitly a touching experience. Getting to see how medicine was practiced in a different country was a truly eye opening experience. As a pre-med student, CFHI's Intensive Beginner Spanish and Healthcare in Oaxaca, Mexico was a very helpful program. Not only did it give me valuable healthcare insight and experience it also allowed me to improve my Spanish speaking skills and learn more about the Mexican culture. Also, Oaxaca was a beautiful city full of culture that I am lucky to have been able to spend a whole month there. Thank you CFHI for the awesome experience!!

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

December 2, 2013

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December 2, 2013

I had the absolute BEST experience with CFHI!! I participated in the Amazon Community and Indigenous Health program in Ecuador where I observed rural and urban healthcare in the city of Puyo, as well as learn about natural medicine from a traditional, indigenous family. Not only did I learn a great deal about the culture and the healthcare system in Ecuador, but I feel like I was able to contribute to the health and well-being of the people. During my time in Ecuador, I shadowed doctors in the Emergency Department and Family Medicine and got to see a wide range of cases. Everyday was completely different. I personally observed many trauma cases in the ER such as motor vehicle crashes, deep wounds, etc. while Family Medicine consisted of assisting with pap smears, prenatal care, and digestive health issues. My favorite part about the program was definitely the jungle visit with a Shuar family. I learned so much about medicinal plants (which I now use to this day) and also just living in the Amazon in general...i even got the chance to become a godmother to one of the Shuar kids! it was just an unbelievable trip.
As a pre-med student, I know that all the skills and experience I learned through CFHI can directly apply for me to become the best physician I can be. Thank you CFHI!!!!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

November 25, 2013

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November 25, 2013

As a Child Family Health International participant, I traveled to Puerto Escondido, Mexico on the “Tropical Medicine and Community Based Care on the Coast of Mexico” program. The program was outstanding, and the people at CFHI both in the US and while in Mexico were all committed to the wellbeing of the participants and the communities they serve. I am so thankful for having had the opportunity to go abroad with CFHI -- what an adventure! Beautiful beaches, fun music, local food, and surf lessons filled the afternoons and weekends. And best of all, this vacation-like experience included an altruistic mission: supporting the health of the local community. With subtle lessons in cultural competency, the daily experiences abroad have forever made me a better healthcare practitioner to all patient populations. It was both humbling and rewarding to provide primary care in the local health clinics of rural towns surrounding Puerto Escondido. Now, back in NYC, I realize that I am more understanding of many of my patients, in particular who are immigrants, who struggle with a language barrier, or who are from cultures different than my own. Lastly, I am thankful for the language skills acquired in Mexico during the Spanish classes as well as in the clinics, on the beach, and at the homestay. Knowing Spanish, especially medical Spanish, enables me to provide better care for many of my Spanish-speaking patients and allows me to pursue a greater diversity of career opportunities.

I am a nurse; now back in school to become a nurse practitioner. I have student loans and very little time off from school; regardless, I found a way to be an international volunteer. If you like traveling, enjoy challenging yourself, and aspire to be the best healthcare professional you can be, then make the time, find the funds, and go abroad with Child Family Health International – ‘let the world change you’.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

encourage participants to be hands-on as much as possible from day one. You are there to learn, and the best way to do that is by doing!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

November 3, 2013

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November 3, 2013

I just finished a volunteer experience with the Child Family Health International organization at Oaxaca, Mexico. This experience was absolutely priceless. I stayed with a Mexican host family, which maximized my ability to learn Spanish during the experience, as their ability to converse in English was minimal. The hospitality (and the food) that the family provided me with was superb. The program was split between clinic time and Spanish courses (in addition to ample time for recreation as well). The language school affiliated with CFHI--Becari--had a great director who facilitated everything related to the stay, in addition to giving us advice on where to visit around the city, as well as tourist locations in Oaxaca. In conclusion, I had a great time in Oaxaca. I got to learn Spanish, primary care medicine along with differences between Mexican and US systems for medicine, as well as had ample time to visit various locations in Oaxaca which I thoroughly enjoyed. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Try to get students a more "hands on" experience in an inpatient/hospital/surgical setting, rather than a hands-off primary care setting, although the latter was also extremely beneficial.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

September 12, 2013

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September 12, 2013

I had an amazing time during my CFHI trip to Durban, South Africa. CFHI works closely with local healthcare organizations, and provides a lot of support for volunteers. Throughout the 5 weeks I spent in Durban, I learned a lot, made great connections, and felt as though I was making some contribution to the healthcare system in South Africa.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

August 6, 2013

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August 6, 2013

Overall, I had a great experience with CFHI during my Intensive Beginner Spanish and Healthcare program in Oaxaca, Mexico. I was able to observe doctors at two different government-run clinics. Both doctors were very friendly and enthusiastic about teaching me more about the how the public healthcare system works and about their cases. Gradually, they allowed me to work more directly with patients, from taking their basic measurements to assisting in basic medical procedures.

What I loved most about Oaxaca were the people and culture. My host family was so warm to me, as was everyone else I encountered there. I could always find performances around Zocalo, and it seemed that everyone loved to dance there! Oaxaca is such a community-oriented place with an incredibly rich culture, and it was the perfect place to develop my Spanish skills and learn more about the culture. The program was well organized and flexible, and I am very happy that I spent my summer before medical school doing this.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

July 30, 2013

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July 30, 2013

I participated in the Introduction to Traditional Medicine in India program through CFHI. Based in the north of India, we spent time in two different cities and also in a small village. This trip was absolutely INCREDIBLE. CFHI does a wonderful job providing the perfect amount of structure while also leaving freedom to explore a new place and really tailor the experience to fit personal expectations and goals. The doctors and homestays were all enthusiastic and open to developing lasting relationships, which really made the trip. I learned beyond what I ever would have expected about the integration of western and traditional medicine, and I believe that CFHI is the gold standard of what an NGO should seek to achieve. Their programs are community-based, instill a culturally sensitive and comprehensive understanding of global health issues, and provide quality care and opportunities for service-learning through collaboration without imposition. I would highly, highly recommend CFHI to anyone seeking to broaden their understanding of public health concerns around the world!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

To be aware of before embarking: Do not come in with the expectation of providing some huge service the people you're working with, or getting lots of clinical experience. I did A LOT of observing, listening, and learning with only a little bit of doing. In my opinion, this is best way to gain a deep and culturally relative understanding of global health issues, but if your expectations and goals are different you could be disappointed.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

July 23, 2013

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July 23, 2013

I had a WONDERFUL experience through CFHI in the Amazon Community and Indigenous Health Program. Through this program, I had the opportunity to volunteer in hospitals throughout urban, rural, and indigenous areas of Ecuador. I met and worked next to a range of different physicians who all took their time to explain different illnesses and treatment options to me.
During my second week, my CFHI group hiked 7 hours in to the Amazon jungle to live with the Shuar community. It was one of the best experiences of my life. They taught us how to cook, hunt, and use medicinal plants. I became close friends with the Shuar leaders and their children. A few weeks later we had the opportunity to volunteer at a small community clinic in Pituriska (the closest town to the Shuar). Everyone in the community had relatives in the Shuar and spoke the native language. We had the opportunity to visit nearby homes and schools to deliver vaccines and do new-born check-ups. It was a wonderful way to get out into the community and learn about how local families live.
I learned a lot through this experience and wouldn't trade it for the world. I know now that I want to become a primary care physician that works in low income areas. I also hope to continue providing medical aid abroad. We shadowed American missionary physicians for one week and saw the difference they made in the lives of their patients. Ecuadorians traveled hours to be seen by these doctors. I hope one day to have the same impact as these physicians.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

spend more time living with different Shuar communities.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

July 23, 2013

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July 23, 2013

I participated in the CFHI Public Health and Community Medicine program based out of New Delhi, India. This was a four week program that took us to various different government and non-government programs involved in public health work. It was a challenging and demanding exposure to the problems that revolve around public health. However, it is equally rewarding and eye-opening. Through this first hand exposure to the people working out in the field, and to those that they serve, I was able to better understand the causes of these problems and routes for solutions to them, though routes that require a lot of work. The key thing is to go into it with an open mind and jump right in since New Delhi can be a jolt in and of itself, on top of the things you see and learn about in the program. That being said, the program gives you exposure to public health that I believe would be rare to obtain elsewhere and the local coordinators are very helpful and attentive to your needs and they play a huge role in making you have the best time possible.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The one thing I would change is better preparing us for what we will be doing each day so as to get more out of every experience. Additionally, it would have been helpful for me, as a medical student, to get some educational information on the grander scheme of public health and the role that a future physician can play within that setting so that I could have a better idea of how to tailor my goals as my career progresses.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

July 21, 2013

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July 21, 2013

I participated in the HIV/AIDS healthcare in Durban, South Africa program. I was able to learn a great deal about HIV/AIDS through the community and public health venues. The greatest incidence of HIV/AIDS occurs in Durban therefore it is essential in learning more about this topic.

Before this trip my knowledge of HIV/AIDS existed in articles on global health forums and public health books. Now I can say I’ve been here in the thick of it. Through spending time in clinics, hospitals, staff, and public health leaders I’ve come back with so much more knowledge. I got to do this while living with a wonderful host mom and brothers who taught me the Zulu culture. I ate traditional food with my hands, spent time with HIV patients of all ages, saw the good a health system can do and the bad effects that an illness can have on a society. I would like to thank everyone for their support in getting me to this CFHI experience. I’m sad to be leaving already but glad to be getting home to share my experience and hopefully create awareness of HIV/AIDS and the importance of global public health.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Restructure the organization at this site and update the program book. The CFHI team in California are great but the team it seems there's some disconnect with the team in Durban.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unsure

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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