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July 8, 2013

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July 8, 2013

Thanks to a scholarship from CFHI, I was able to realize my dreams of travelling abroad and gaining first-hand experience living and promoting sexual health in the beautiful nation of Ecuador. From May-June 2013, I volunteered in CFHI's Sexual Health as a Human Right program.

While in the
program, I worked with Copprende, a non-profit organization that provides sexual and reproductive health education to the public. During my time at Copprende I learned about the organization while assisting with presentations and community health fairs. My culminating project was to propose a new sexual health theme to diversify the foundation's efforts in community outreach and sexual health education.

In four weeks of cultural immersion, I learned much more than I could ever learn in a classroom setting. I chose this program because I am interested in researching the factors that impact teen pregnancy and contraceptive use in the Latino community, both inside and outside of the US. Latinos in Ecuador and America are different in many ways, but there is much to learn from their shared beliefs and habits that come from having a similar background.

Cultural immersion is a great way to shed light on the similarities and differences that influence a culture. Thanks to Child Family Health International and Copprende I have a broader conception of research that could hopefully improve the sexual education and outreach efforts of organizations interesting in improving the health and social status of the Latino community.


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?

2013

June 6, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

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June 6, 2013
1 person found this review helpful

I participated in two programs with CFHI; Intensive Beginners Spanish and Amazonian Community & Indigenous Health. I could write extensively about both programs, however I was much more impacted by my time spent in the Amazon. During this program I spent a little over three weeks in a town (Puyo) that lies just on the outskirts of the Amazon jungle. Two of my weeks were spent in and around the town while the third week was spent visiting an indigenous tribe within the Amazon. During my time in Puyo I shadowed physicians at the well known Voz Andes clinic where I was able to see a full spectrum of health cases. Some patients were locals who simply needed standard care while others traveled more than a day to receive treatment. My second week in Puyo was spent on the public health trail where I followed a Ministry of Public Health employee door to door in checking for mosquitoes in an effort to eliminate dengue. Finally, my week in the jungle was probably my most memorable time. The route to get there started with an hour bus ride to an outpost clinic followed by a four hour hike along a muddy trail that was impassable by anything but foot. The hike was beautiful in addition to exhausting. However, the effort was worth it as I was welcomed by the local tribe with open arms for the duration of my four day stay. During this time I was invited to be part of several traditional rituals and songs. Additionally, one day was spent going over the local flora to learn what plants were consumed and for what purposes; medical or otherwise.

Simply put, my trip into the Amazon was full of breadth both medically and culturally. It couldn't have been more spot on.

Ways to make it better...

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

Be more clear about what participants will be doing on a day-to-day basis before they sign up. My time in Quito was not nearly as impactful if only because I didn't sign up for the right clinic rotations.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unlikely

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

None

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

May 29, 2013

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May 29, 2013

The program I participated in within CFHI was called "Sexual Health as a Human Right: Ecuador's Unique Model". As a person that studied business and minored in health, it was a great way for me to experience the administrative aspects of a health initiative on an international level. I had the opportunity of working with Copprende, an NGO in Quito, Ecuador. It was a great way for me to see how an NGO as well as health facilities operate differently than in the USA. It was really intriguing to learn how sexual and reproductive health was viewed in Ecuador. It was great opportunity to compare and contrast. I learned a great deal and it increased my cultural sensitivity on the subject.

The first couple of days were spent learning about the organization and about the larger organization that they are a part of called Prosalud Inter Americana. The majority of my days were spent traveling to universities, police or military schools, and health facilities distributing brochures. Sometimes it was assisting in the facilitation of a presentation/charla. On other days, I spent time in the office working on my contribution. It was interesting to see the reaction of others about the topics discussed to them during our outreach.

I had wonderful Spanish teachers and everyone noticed my improvement. The teachers were always patient and very helpful. I wouldn't have learned so much without them. I also lived with a great host family who were always interested in what I had to say. This particular program, Sexual Health as a Human Right, is a great program especially for those seeking a non-clinical experience.

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

May 23, 2013

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May 23, 2013

My time with CFHI was incredible. I learned so much and had tons of fun along the way. The directors, both local and back in the states, are very helpful and happy to answer any question or help with any concerns. The medical rotations showed me so may different sides of medicine, from the cultural aspects to the technical. From Spanish lessons to the homestays, the program includes everything one could want when volunteering abroad. CFHI has affirmed my desire to work in medicine, but more than that I now feel like I have become much more of a global citizen.

Ways to make it better...

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

None! It's great!

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?

Life-changing

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

May 13, 2013

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May 13, 2013

It was one of the best rotations of my medical school career. Getting the opportunity to perform a number of procedures while also seeing what healthcare challenges another culture faced allowed me to develop tremendously as a doctor and person in the beginning stages of my career. As a group we got a better understanding of why diseases like TB and HIV are so prevalent because Avril Whate spent an extensive amount of time speaking with us about the decades of healthcare neglect during apartheid.
I can't stress enough how welcoming Avril and Marion Williams were to our group. They did an amazing job teaching us about the culture of Cape Town and the complex history of its people. Such a great 4 weeks and I would highly recommend this rotation.

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?

2013

May 12, 2013

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May 12, 2013

Had a great 4 weeks here. Could not have asked for better experience. I was very impressed by the organization from our local coordinators Marion and Avril. Within hours of stepping off the plane we had a meeting with both if them to explain the ins and outs of Cape Town: how to be safe, what to expect in the hospitals, what to expect in our home stays, things to do in Cape Town. It was informative, fun, and a reassuring way to let us know they would always be there. Because of these two, there were never any surprises and I knew that if an issue did come about there would already be a plan in place to fix it.

I have done multiple trips abroad throughout undergrad with many different organization programs. Of all of the local coordinators I worked with, Marion and Avril were the only two that were constantly visible and in constant contact with the group. They didn't just show up when there was an issue, but instead would meet us for dinners and festivals and whatever else was going on in Cape Town that they thought we would enjoy. My amazing experience with CHFI was almost entirely due to these two individuals. I will definitely be recommending this program to other medical students.

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

April 12, 2013

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April 12, 2013

Participating in CFHI's health program was the best clinical experience abroad I have ever had. The families I stayed with in both Quito and Chone were very kind, accomodating, and hospitable. They gave me a taste of their culture, customs, and values while making me feel a part of the fmaily. This program has helped me to become a more culturally sensitive, well-rounded, medical Spanish speaking future doctor. I would recommend this program for every current and aspiring health care professional. It's an experience of a lifetime. I came back with a refreshed outlook on life and better sense of self, and hope this feeling stays with me for a lifetime!

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

January 15, 2013

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January 15, 2013

Attending CFHI´s Dentistry and Oral Health Program in Quito, Ecuador gave me a very different outlook to health care. This program is by far the best volunteer abroad program out there. The advantage of being able to receive Spanish classes whether you´re a beginner or want to brush up on medical or dental terms in spanish is really good. I am currently on my last week here in the program and it has been quite an experience. The people I have met and got to know better, come from all over the states. Together, we all struggled to better our Spanish conversational skills and to fit in to Ecuadorian daily life.
My time in the dental clinic so far is truly an unforgettable experience. The opportunity to work under a dentist outside of the USA and to see how they perform dentistry is a unique experience. In the clinic, resources and materials are very limited! I am very glad that I brought gloves and masks here to Quito because I more than likely would not have been able to help assist the doctors without them. Being here has really opened up my eyes to appreciate the things I have back home. Using everything effieciently and effectively makes a difference here and when I get back home to the dental office I shadow, I will definately make sure I am using things efficiently-
The people here in Quito are very nice people. I always make sure I greet whoever I pass by with ¨Buenos dias¨or ¨buenos tardes¨. The cultural here in Quito is very beautiful. I am always opened to trying the different foods that the homestay prepares, which is ALWAYS DELICIOUS. My favorite thing to have here in Quito is the hot chocolate with cheese, which always has to be eaten together.
When I wasn´t at the homestay, dental clinic or the language school, the other CFHI members and I would explore Quito. A popular place to go out here is La Mariscal. They have a lot of dancing clubs, bars and restaurants. There are also many things to see here that you must visit during your stay in Quito like the el mitad de mundo. A great thing about coming to Quito, is that everything is very cheap, which is a good thing if you´re on a budget. Since my program is only 2 weeks, I have spent about $150 so far!
Because of CFHI, I have abroad experience in the dental field. CFHI put in a lot of time and effort to make this program a true successs. This program has opened my eyes to the different concerns, diseases, techniques and treatments that exist outside of the USA. I cannot thank CFHI as much for this wonderful opportunity. I highly recommend anyone thinking about attending a CFHI program to do so without any hesitations as I did!

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?

2013

November 29, 2012

more

November 29, 2012

The first two weeks were spent getting to know people, adapting to the new culture, and trying my hardest to learn this new language. I loved getting to know all the students in the program. We all came from different states and had different paths for our medical careers, but we all had similarities that allowed us to get along with one another. There were people in med school or working to get into med school, public health majors, nursing majors, and someone about to go to dentistry school. We all shared the common belief that we wanted to help people and we wanted learn and understand another culture other than our own, which helped us get along. It was nice having someone to talk to when you were missing your family, and one of the best parts about being with a group of people is we were always going and exploring the new environment. There were so many things to go do on the weekends. We took trips to Otavalo, Banos, Cotopaxi, Cuenca, the jungle, and much more. One of my main regrets was that at first I wasn’t going on weekend trips because I wanted to stay and take more Spanish classes. Taking extra classes is good, and I am sure it helped me a little bit; still the best way to learn is by going out and talking to people. Learning about the culture and experiencing it. I realized this later on and decided to change my flight for a later date and allow more time to travel. Anyone who is planning to have an experience like this one, I suggest planning time and allocating money to travel, even if it is weekend trips. The public transportation in Ecuador was cheap and interesting; I saw so many things I would never see in a plane. On the way to Cuenca, I got to see so much of the Andes Mountains. We got to see how different cultures were from different parts of Ecuador. People that live in Cuenca have a different culture than people that live in Otavalo and people that live near the jungle have a different culture also. Ecuador is so diversified. I highly suggest visiting different places and planning time after rotations to see some of the amazing places in Ecuador if anyone is planning to do this program.
During clinical, I was able to see and learn many things about the culture. My eyes were opened about how people live on limited resources. When there is limited access to resources, the health care that is given is limited. Patient satisfaction and comfort is the last concern. During my clinical I got to apply knowledge and skills that I learned in nursing school. I was pleased to develop a better understanding of global health care and community health. Each clinical taught me a lot about family practice and preventative health.
This experience has developed me into a stronger and wiser person. I see the world in a different light. I believe I have only started to open my mind into seeing what the world is truly like. I have now seen what it is like for people who have to fight every day. I appreciate all the blessings and luxuries that I have growing up as an American citizen I can’t even put into words how amazing this trip was. I hope to make more trips like this in my lifetime and expand my knowledge about the world.

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?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 2, 2012

more

October 2, 2012

I was a volunteer with CFHI’s Public Health & Community Medicine in India program in August 2012. I chose this program because while I feel that while health care workers and doctors are instrumental in increasing a population’s health, they are not able to do it alone. Public health infrastructure is essential to keeping people healthy and providing programs and resources. I felt that CFHI’s program in India was unique from a lot other programs I considered. Our rotations ranged greatly, exposing us to many challenges that India faces. Our visits included free outreach medical care programs in addition to well-funded private hospitals. We had discussion with female sex workers, went to juvenile de-addiction centers, and homes for street children among others.
The program was well organized and I never on my own could have seen and visited all the organizations we went to. The local coordinators were very helpful, not only with logistics, but they were also great resources to understanding more about India and the culture. The program did not sugar-coat any medical or public health issues, and I felt I got a much more real understanding than I could have from any book or article.
I am applying to medical school, and the public health rotations in this program gave me a more unique perspective and deeper understanding of the complex issues involved in providing health care in a developing nation than clinical work alone could have.

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?

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?

2012

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