Transcript of "Medical Volunteering Experiences and Cultural Exploration in Guatemala by Joey Shaw"
Medical Volunteering Experiences and Cultural Exploration in Guatemala
Joey Shaw, Class of 2016
For my project, I traveled to Guatemala City, Guatemala to
engage in volunteer opportunities as well as interacting with the
culture of Guatemala. The volunteer opportunities were based
on the communities need, but my involvements were based in
part of the medical field. Specifically, I worked at a pediatric
clinic and spent much of my time helping the nurses there.
After volunteering and observing in a medical discipline as well
as experiencing the culture of Guatemala, I returned to the
local area to complete my enrichment project. In Louisville, I
observed physicians in order to gain more exposure to the
medical field. Specifically, I worked with two different teams of
doctors at University Hospital. This portion of the project
allowed me to acquire more experience in an area that I may
possibly be around in the future. Also, it allowed me to see the
differences in the local area’s medicinal practices with those in
a foreign country.
I designed my summer enrichment project with two main
motivations in mind. The first related to my intended future
career. I am currently a biology major with the intention of
attending medical school. So, I wanted to concentrate part of
my project on volunteering and gaining experience in the field.
The next main idea I kept in mind while designing my project
was my experience with different cultures. Previously, I had
only been out of the country during my class Brown Fellows
class trip. Due to this, I made sure to travel to another country
so I could interact with another culture.
Experience in Guatemala
In Guatemala, I worked with a program named CrossCultural Solutions. Through this program, I lived in a house in
the community with various volunteers from all over the United
States and various other places throughout the world. Each
weekday consisted of volunteering from approximately 8 AM12 PM. During this time each day, I worked in a medical clinic
called Fundacion Pediatrica. Here I helped nurses with
checking in children for their doctors appointments as well as
helping with some of the treatments. At this placement, I only
could communicate with the nurses and usually the patients
through the Spanish language. After my volunteering each day,
the program took us to various activities in order to experience
some of the culture of Guatemala. For example, I went to many
history museums observed some of the types of jobs found in
Guatemala. Finally, on the weekends, I was able to travel
around the country and explore many interesting places.
At the University of Louisville Hospital, I spent most
of my time with two different teams of doctors as they
prepared for and went on their rounds through the
hospital. Specifically, I observed general internists. Each
day, I was able to listen as the physicians discussed
patients and treatments. Although much of the
terminology the doctors used was extremely complex, I
was fortunate enough to gain some knowledge and a
significant amount of exposure to the medical field.
Overall, my first enrichment project was extremely
successful. I accomplished my initials goals that I based
this enrichment project on, which included gaining
experience in the medical field and interacting with
another culture. However, I gained much more
unexpected experience as well. For example, I became
better at understanding and actually speaking Spanish
on a limited basis. Finally, I had the opportunity to
observe the style and perspective of life in Guatemala.
In the future, I hope to have more enrichment
projects that are just as successful. I plan on continuing
to explore the medical field and hopefully different
cultures, but I also think volunteering will be an
important aspect. Although my plans may be subject to
change, the enthusiasm I had in completing my first
enrichment project will remain for my future projects.
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.