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Reproductive Health in Quito, Ecuador

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An Amazing Experience

I just returned from an amazing month-long global health experience in Quito with Child Family Health International. I witnessed some great medicine, took Spanish classes, immersed myself in the culture through a homestay, adventured across Ecuador, and made many lifelong friends. I learned so much about both medicine and myself through this experience. While any country will have differences in policy and operations I was surprised at just how similar clinic in Quito was when compared to my experiences in the US. In a way, it was beautiful illustration of how universal the human condition is. No matter where you are from, what work you do, or how you identify, all humans face the same medical problems across the world. This is a simple and obvious truth that is surprisingly difficult to grasp until you experience it firsthand. From stomachaches and cough to cancer and dementia, humanity can’t escape illness and (hopefully) doctors will always be there to aid and heal those in need. I highly recommend CFHI to any medical student!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Global Health Immersion: Reproductive Health in Quito, Ecuador

From October-- late November 2010, I participated in the Reproductive Health program through CFHI. I chose the 8 week contingent because I wanted to maximize my medical rotation experience as well as optimize my cultural immersion. I have nothing but praise for this particular program and for CFHI. There are many aspects of interning abroad that contributed to my growth as a healthcare professional, so I will mention a few highlights.

I noticed that it was the day-to-day traditions and interactions I had with locals in Quito that made a huge impression on me. My host mother was wonderful. She saw to it that I was fed, comfortable with my sleeping quarters, healthy and happy. We spoke only Spanish in her home so this daily practice really sharpened my Spanish skills. I also enjoyed the stories she shared with me of her life in Chile; Chile is her native country & roots- then she came to Ecuador. Over the weeks my increasing ability to speak & understand Spanish not only enabled me to connect with my host mother, but opened up many opportunities for me to connect with medical staff and patients in the hospitals and clinics.

I rotated through a different clinic or hospital each week for the 8-week duration of the program. My daily experience was shadowing a doctor or nurse practitioner during their intakes and procedures. Sometimes I was sitting on on a pre-natal care consult or a triage to treat a pregnant woman with preeclampsia. I also directly observed surgical procedures at the military hospital, and over the weeks as my Spanish improved I was able to get a basic amount of hands on experience with patients who were seeking pap tests and breast exams. I found that the more I demonstrated interest and enthusiasm, the more likely it was for me a medical practitioner to grant me the opportunity to work with a patient. at the time I interned abroad I had the dream of becoming an ultrasound technologist. By the end of my program I had learned enough Spanish to advocate for myself and express my interest in shadowing techs in Radiology and Imaging departments. I asked and access was granted. It was incredible how much empowerment I gained through genuine effort, curiosity and language skills.

I gained humility in Quito, coming from a country where we have so much privilege and access to healthful means at our fingertips. I learned to let go of 1st world issues and embrace the positive outlook the citizens of Quito have despite their struggles with poverty and sexual health oppression.
I encourage anyone to step out of their comfort zone and attend a CHFI program, in a Spanish speaking country is ideal. But truly, any of them will teach one more tolerance and broaden our cultural competency.