Lattitude Global Volunteering Canada (formerly GAP)
An amazing opportunity to travel
Submitted by Erika | August 16, 2016
Excited to experience some hands on learning in the medical field and experience a new culture, I set off to volunteer in Japan in September 2014 after graduating high school. My first time in Asia, my first time living away from home for an extended period of time, let alone abroad, and my first time seeing the inner workings of a hospital were milestones I ticked off in my first few weeks on Lattitude.
At first everything was new: the language, the volunteer work, so many names to remember. Everyone at Ashikaga Red Cross hospital was so helpful and patient with me; with time things became natural for me and I could go about my workday with ease, conversing with friendly coworkers and patients. Through my everyday ward work, I got to see the inner workings of a hospital and what an average day of a worker in the medical field would look like.
I also had the opportunity to witness some amazing surgeries, something I would never get to see back home in Canada. I saw surgeries of all kinds, from routine procedures that took a couple hours to eight or ten hour long more involved surgeries. The doctors and nurses I shadowed in both clinical and surgical settings were amazing, taking time to explain diagnoses and procedures to me. Some surgeries I observed were a cesarian section, open-heart surgery, and brain surgery, using incredibly advanced medical technology. I also got to touch and feel what a lung tumor feels like-talk about hands on experience!
Beyond volunteer work, the people you meet are the best part of Lattitude. Everyone at the hospital was so friendly, taking me to new experiences like tea ceremonies, making new year’s mochi, ikebana (Japanese flower arranging), and I even got to participate in the samurai parade! I made real friendships and I hope to visit again someday.
I hope my words convince others to take this amazing opportunity to travel, experience a different culture, make new friends, and grow as a person. For me, the medical experience is invaluable for my intended career path. Even if you have no idea what you want to do yet, going on a program like Lattitude will allow you grow as a person immensely. I went to university the following September, feeling much more confident about living on my own as a young adult and with a much more serious work ethic.
I am now in university, intending on getting my undergrad in nursing and applying to medical school. No matter what career I end up doing, I know that Lattitude helped me grow as a person and the experience will be an amazing memory for the rest of my life.
Program: Volunteer Placements in Japan