Carleigh High, Physical Therapy Student, Elon University, Elon, NC, USA (April-May 2017)
For my “elective program” I chose to go to Medical Electives in Trujillo, Peru- it was one of the best opportunities I’ve experienced and I’m so glad I decided to go!
Kevin and his staff are so nice and really make you feel welcome in Peru! They have lots of teachers who focus on different areas of Spanish (conversation, grammar, medicine, etc.) which is great because you have an energetic teacher who is eager to help you learn in all of your classes. It was also really nice to have a variety of teaching styles in order to obtain a better grasp on Peruvian Spanish. The medical classes were very useful in teaching us not only the Spanish vocabulary, but also subtle colloquialisms in order for us to better relate to our patients. Living with a host family also allowed for the opportunity to learn phrases and vocabulary unique to Peru. My host family was also amazing and invited us to family holiday meals and gatherings, really allowing us to feel part of the family during our stay.
I was fortunate to assist in several different hospitals during my stay in Trujillo. Each one had its own unique character and it was really nice to see the multiple aspects of healthcare in Peru. I really enjoyed conversing with local staff and learning their perspective on their reasoning behind specific treatments. They even asked a classmate and I to give an in-service presentation; it was a great forum for us to share and discuss different treatment options with each other. The hospital staff were amazing and became part of my family while I was there- they are such friendly and caring people and I’m so glad I was able to meet them through Medical Electives!
Just before I arrived in Trujillo, there was major flooding to the area and local residents needed help in various ways. One of the unique aspects of Medical Electives is that they helps set up health outreach campaigns in order to truly help connect you with the people who need help the most. Due to the flooding, while I was there these campaigns focused on flood victims living in the outskirts of Trujillo. These campaigns are not part of the required program, but are a volunteer opportunity to work alongside local healthcare providers, using minimal resources, and focusing on patient education. The health outreach campaigns were humbling and rewarding experiences and I only wish there would have been more of them during my time in Trujillo.
During my free time I really enjoyed getting to know Trujillo- meeting people at the gym, conversing with local restaurant owners, relaxing on the beaches, and running around neighborhood parks. Trujillo, and all of Peru, has a fascinating history and it was incredible to be able to explore some of the nearby historical wonders including Chan Chan. I also enjoy hiking and the mountains are not too far away and offer a fantastic weekend escape from the busy city. All in all, I am thrilled I chose to spend my time with Medical Electives and hope to make it back someday soon!!