Where did you serve?
I had the opportunity to serve in the Dominican Republic, specifically in Santo Domingo. The areas that we provided free medical services were located in very poverty-stricken communities. They were very natural and surrounded by fields of grass and trees. However, it was noticeable that the sanitation in these areas wasn’t too great. There were many dogs freely running around and the medical facilities were far from these areas.
Were there any moments of culture shock that really stood out?
During our trip we got to do home visits- where we visit the patients in their homes due to severe conditions that prohibit them from getting to the clinic site. Seeing their living conditions made me appreciate all that I have and how much they lack. It amazes me how we take so many things for granted, such as clean water. One of the primary causes of disease in this area is the unsanitary water which the population is exposed to.
What organization did you serve with? Does it have a UCLA connection?
The organization’s name is Global Medical Training- an international humanitarian organization that provides free medical-dental services to medically deprived communities in Central American countries.
Why did you choose this organization and location?
I choose to volunteer with this organization because I am passionate about serving others and am fascinated by the wonders that medicine can do. Serving in the Dominican Republic was beyond a rewarding experience; it opened my eyes to the world, and I hope to one day go back as a physician and provide even more help to these communities.
What lessons have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I learned that in order to effectively provide medical care, one needs to be understanding and compassionate towards patients. You need to recognize that each patient has a different background, a story that got them to where they are now. When they are in front of you sharing their life and medical concerns, they are putting their full trust in you. They are believing in you and hope to obtain the slightest feeling of relief. Knowing that we were able to help over 800 patients in less than a week is truly the most rewarding feeling that I have ever experienced in my life.
The More You Know
|Country Served||Dominican Republic|
|Urban Population with Access to Clean Water||87%|
|Service Organization||Global Medical Training UCLA|