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Realities of Health Access and Inequities in Oaxaca, Mexico

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

Healthcare and Cultural adventure in Oaxaca

I recently got back from my experience in Oaxaca, Mexico this January. Not only was it great to get out of the cold, but the amount of learning and cultural experience was absolutely impeccable. To start off, the home stay was perfect. As a vegetarian, I was a little bit nervous with the meals that would be served, fortunately I was perfectly placed in a home with vegetarian hosts! For those in the home who weren't vegetarians, meat was still courteously provided for them. I was able to experience and learn about the private and public sector in healthcare through my visits in two different clinics, a private and public hospital, and a rehabilitation center for adults and children. On the weekends I visited some of Oaxaca's most treasured sites such as the ruins of the ancient Zapotecs at Monte Alban. All in all I would recommend this experience to anyone who wants to learn more about healthcare in a different country. I feel confidant that this experience will help me in my job search as graduation approaches!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

January 2016

I went to Oaxaca, Mexico with CFHI for a month. This was my first time practicing medicine abroad and I appreciate how careful they were about making sure that I only did what I was qualified to do unlike other programs which sometimes let premeds do things way above their level. They were always available which made me feel safe at any point I was in Mexico. My home stay, clinics and hospitals I visited, and Spanish school were all set up and ready to go upon my arrival. I rotated through peds, surgery, internal med, L&D, ED... My medical director was extremely receptive of what I wanted out of my experience.

I got way more out of this experience than I could have possibly imagined. I previously shied away from short missions trips because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fully immerse myself in the culture and really get something out of it while giving back. This trip with CFHI was perfect because my role often fell at the same level as it would be in the US which made it easier to feel immersed into the environment. The only down side is that it was quite expensive, but CFHI did help cover half my funds with a scholarship which was easy to apply for.

A month was also the perfect amount of time to get to know plenty of people, learn medical knowledge in Spanish, and get to know the area well enough that I would feel comfortable visiting another time (which I can't wait to do). I absolutely recommend it to any other med (or nursing) students!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    8

Oaxaca Immersion Experience

I just finished volunteering with the Child Family Health International organization in Oaxaca, Mexico. I absolutely loved this experience. I am extremely thankful for being able to maximize my Spanish speaking ability during the experience. I stayed with a Mexican host family which had a very limited ability to converse in English . The hospitality that my host family provided was excellent. They made very authentic Mexican and Oaxacan foods, and accompanied me to different regions of Oaxaca to explain the location to me. The program itself was a mix of clinics and Spanish courses, but there was enough time for sightseeing and exploration of the city of Oaxaca. The language school had a great director who facilitated everything related to the stay, including allowing for changing the host family if there was any discomfort. The language school director also gave us advice on where to visit around the city, as well as tourist locations in Oaxaca. To conclude, I had a fantastic time in Oaxaca. I got to learn Spanish, as well as benefiting significantly from the clinical primary care experience, while learning the differences between the Mexican and American Health Care systems, as well as having ample time to visit various locations in Oaxaca. If I had the opportunity, I would surely visit Oaxaca again, and do this program all over again!