Suzanne is a nurse and recent MPH graduate. She is currently traveling in South America and hopes to learn Spanish so she can work with Spanish-speaking underserved populations at home.Interviewed on - 13 April 2015
I wanted international public health experience. I had been working as a nurse for six years, including living in Germany the prior two years. So to combine my love for travel and health, I wanted a unique international public health experience and ELI had so many amazing programs to choose from.
I wanted to go to Vietnam and liked the program goals. My father, like many of his generation, has served in the Army during the Vietnam War and I really wanted to see how the country had changed and spend time getting to know the people. Thus, I chose a program in Da Lat, which is more rural and offered a better chance of seeing how the locals live and seek medical care.
Da Lat was a scenic and mild temperature town in the mountains. I loved it! It was big enough that there were things to do but also small enough that I could get to know the community too. I was near a famous house and was able to give tourists instructions on how to get there.
I loved working with Vi, my translator. We became friends and I enjoyed her company. I couldn't have done it without her. I also know this experience was only possible with a translator and with an inside source (ELI) to help set it up. I understand that volunteer opportunities can't be free because there are resources involved and I trust that I received the best possible assistance I could.
They were mostly supportive. The women working at the clinic were great, as well as the doctor who let me shadow in her appointments.
Probably not stayed as long honestly. Three and a half weeks was a bit much, two weeks would have been fine.
I worked about three hours in the morning and the same in the afternoon. We had a long lunch, when Vi and I would get lunch. The work included blood draws, vaccines, and shadowing the doctors. They opened a new clinic while I was there so I witnessed the ceremony to bless the new facility, which was very interesting.
I enjoyed my time with Vi, my translator, and learning more about medicine in Vietnam.
Walking around the town and doing different weekend excursions, like hiking and biking.
I was at a local hotel which was very nice, but there was a tennis court that people would often play at very early so that was sometimes annoying.
Every intern should know to go in with an open mind and no set expectations to ensure the most enjoyable experience.
I completed an MPH with a global health certificate because I do love this type of work. I have since done research project in Nepal and am currently traveling for four months in South America.
I would love to return to Nepal. I also would like to work on my Spanish so I could go on a medical program to a Spanish-speaking country.