Bolivia, Child Family Health International
For the summer of 2018, I spent six weeks in southern Bolivia. The town I was in, Tarija, housed two hospitals and many clinics among its dusty streets and homey plazas. My mornings involved rotating in these hospitals and clinics in various settings. I saw the day-to-day operations of rural, urban and specialized clinics, while observing the difficulties of access to healthcare in a low-income region of this low-income country. My afternoons were spent teaching children without access to school or work at Foundacion Down, an organization that works with children with Down Syndrome, again noting difficulties in access to resources that first-world countries may take for granted. These observations were supplemented with weekly meetings addressing Bolivian healthcare hosted by a physician running the program.
Living with a host family, complete immersion into the Spanish language, and being open to this unique culture made this summer meaningful and exciting at all points, proving to be an experience not soon to be forgotten.
The program includes a weekly lecture series about healthcare in Bolivia, public health challenges, policy and methods of intervention. On top of all of this, I, along with other program participants, received 30 hours of Spanish classes.
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