9 Things Medical Students Should Know Before Medical Mission Trips
We all know that mission trips are extremely useful for learning new things and increasing your social network.
In this article, we will discuss what medical students need to know before taking a mission trip.
1. Medical mission trips are more than just clinical work.
When you join medical missions trips then the scope of work is beyond regular medical practices like working with patients, diagnosing illnesses, and providing care. Other than that you might need to involve in activities like educating communities on nutrition and sustainable health practices. You also need to do the administrative work related to your medical activities as well.
2. Grad schools love it
If you are in the pre-med stage of your studies and you have the experience of traveling abroad with mission trips then it is a great plus for you. Grad schools often look for volunteer experience especially if you’ve been a volunteer abroad, medical schools will snatch you up. Medical mission trip experience will bring you immense personal growth.
3. Volunteering abroad leads to lower rates of depression and mental illness.
Doing meaningful work while also being integrated into a community makes you feel good, and volunteering has been proven to lengthen your lifespan and improve your quality of life. Amazing, right? While volunteering abroad in any field has a positive impact on your mental health, we know pre-med students need this a little extra because of the high stress of your studies. So as an undergraduate pre-med international volunteer, you not only get a leg up in the field, but prove to yourself that you can take on anything life hands you!
4. You can’t always rely on your program provider for information.
Healthcare is serious business. While your program will provide basic information about your placement and duties, it’s important to do your own research to know what to expect. If you’re embarking on pre-med mission trips, it’s a good idea to be prepared in such a serious type of placement with so many people relying on you. Do your research!
5. Impact depends on your commitment.
As with most volunteer trips abroad, the more time you have to commit to a project, the bigger the impact you’ll make on the community. The same holds true for medical trips abroad. Of course, everyone has time constraints, but it’s about making the most of the time you have away from your studies.
Thinking of taking a gap year for pre-med mission trips? Wonderful! But even if that’s not a possibility for you, think of the time you do have. Spring break pre-med trips are the perfect solution for those short on time. Instead of spending two weeks drinking tequila shots in Miami, spend your time contributing to a developing country and expanding your medical knowledge with spring break pre-med trips abroad!
6. Most placements require medical skills.
While there are countries all over the world that are in need of medical relief, they are not lacking unskilled laborers. Without knowledge or experience, you’ll just be taking the job of a local. What these countries need are skilled professionals that they can’t find in their own communities. While you don’t have to be a trained doctor, it’s important to have the medical knowledge and skills available to make a difference during your medical trips abroad. Don’t dive into pre-med mission trips if you don’t have the skills to back up your passion. You want to be able to safely make a difference!
7. Improvising can be necessary.
While US hospitals are stocked with every tool you could ever need, that isn’t always the case when you volunteer abroad. Medical volunteers will need to improvise if the tools needed are not readily available, so it’s important to think of alternatives that are safe, locally available, and nearby. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination and get creative on your pre-med mission trips.
8. Language skills enhance the experience.
While it may not be a requirement for program entry, it’s always a good idea to brush up on your language skills before embarking on pre-med mission trips. Even if you’re nowhere near fluent, attempting to speak the language will be greatly appreciated by the locals. Don’t be embarrassed! As an undergraduate pre-med international volunteer who attempts to connect with the community, you’ll earn respect and trust, and that’s always important on medical trips abroad.
9. Your world will never be the same.
In a good way! Medical mission trips for pre-med students will both melt your heart and make it ache. You’ll learn so much about the medical field that those who don’t cross borders will never know, and these things stick with you for life. You’ll become more well-rounded, flexible, and open-minded about medicine, and you’ll grow as a human, opening to a new world that will only allow you to grow.
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