Trujillo, Peru - The Medical Network
Senior/MS4 international elective
I had the opportunity to spend my last month of medical school in Trujillo, Peru, thanks to Drexel University College of Medicine and Medical Electives. As I reflect upon my four years in medical school, I feel incredibly grateful. I recognize that every sacrifice I've made has been worthwhile as they continue to open doors for me, and it also encourages me to foster my interest in international medicine further.
During these years, I’ve had the opportunity to work towards a career in which I get to serve patients every day and be constantly reminded that true medicine has no boundaries and does not hold prejudice against color, language, race, or religion. With these values in mind, I went to Trujillo, Peru, with two main goals: to strengthen my medical Spanish and to expose myself to obstetrics and gynecology.
For the first one, Medical Electives’ strong Medical Spanish program was ideal for me as I wanted to reinforce my conversational Spanish and focus on medical Spanish. The program placed me in an advanced class which was ideal for my level of fluency, and it really focused on making sure I became comfortable explaining medical procedures to patients. The course was rigorous but fun, and it always incorporated activities to make the learning process more interactive.
Toward my second goal, the exposure in the hospital was very good and inspiring. I was always welcomed by residents and included by medical students, which was a huge plus seeing as I did feel out of place initially given the new environment, language and setting. Most importantly, I was challenged to think outside the box and learn how to deal with challenges when technology or medications are not available at a moment’s notice.
All in all, even though I had two main goals in mind when I set out to visit Trujillo, I accomplished much more. For example, I established strong relationships with my host family and future residents across the United States and the United Kingdom. I also learned so much about the Peruvian culture—everything from food, traditions, and language, to the difference between llamas and alpacas. I was also able to practice my Spanish daily and have very significant interactions with patients, particularly during the health fairs that we held on Fridays. During these health fairs, which were set in schools, prisons, and elderly centers to facilitate the communities, my heart felt the happiest. Even though we could only offer a limited supply of medications and the extent of our services was very limited, the community was always appreciative and their spirits were uplifted. These interactions gave me a sense of utmost humility and reminded me of why I pursued medicine in the first place. Simply put, it is a privilege to take care of the sick, and everyone has a right to health care. All in all, Medical Electives was worth it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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