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Projects Abroad volunteer teacher and her students Projects Abroad volunteer teacher and her students

Volunteer Medical Internships in the Philippines

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Volunteering with the friendliest people

My experience in the Philippines was nothing like I had expected. Having completed my first year in medical school, drowned in the seemingly endless lists of lectures to go through and anatomy to memorize, all I wanted was some practical experience of medicine to remind myself what I was aspiring to do in the future. And that is exactly what I got, but more.
When I first arrived in at Cebu Mactan Airport, the friendliest Filipino staff greeted me. He gave me a tour of the island as we drove through the changing scenery. I felt both excited yet apprehensive about being in the Philippines for the first time. Back then I did not imagine that like many of the other staffs of Projects Abroad, I would grow to treasure them as friends, and smile at the memory of exchanging stories whilst sharing meals, singing along to karaoke music, and playing sports together.
I was taken to my host family’s house, where I instantly felt welcomed by the two daughters who came up to me like we were already friends. By the second night, I was already being confided about her crush at the same primary school, which I am sure to tease her about the next time I visit. The food at the house was wonderful, with authentic Filipino homemade dishes that I was longing to eat. After showing interest in cooking Filipino dishes, my host mother taught me how to make a few dishes, and by the end of the four weeks, preparing dinner together was a daily task. Despite the slight language barrier, our conversations around the dining table were always filled with laughter.
The hospital I was placed at in Bogo city was a complete contrast to the shiny, machinery-orientated hospitals in Japan that I was used to. There was a real sense of community and trust between the staff at the hospital, and everyone was willing to teach the volunteers about the patients, procedures, diseases, as well as the Filipino culture. We also had the opportunity to be a part of the weekly Medical Mission where we visited a nearby village to provide free health care. The amount of hands-on experience that I was able to attain was far above my expectations, and it has most definitely increased my motivation of becoming a doctor. I hope that one day, I can be a part of such a friendly workplace too.
The weekends on beaches were another highlight of my trip. The volunteers are all encouraged to plan a weekend trip away to tour around the islands, where we were able to build valuable friendships from people all over the world. Swimming with the whale sharks and cliff diving were one of the most memorable events which I believe to be what would be called an ‘once in a lifetime experience’.
I cannot express enough how grateful I am that I had this opportunity to be a part of such a vibrant community, and to have experiences that I will treasure and look back on with fondness. It was definitely one of the greatest trips of my life.

Institution Affiliates:

The International Volunteer Programs Association