The marketing for this program is slightly misleading. The descriptions portray an in-depth and first-hand experience working with doctors. Unfortunately this is not the case, most of the work was... Kyle
Health & Safety
Day to Day Life
More appropriately called volun-tourism
Submitted by Kyle - San Francisco United States | February 02, 2018
The marketing for this program is slightly misleading. The descriptions portray an in-depth and first-hand experience working with doctors. Unfortunately this is not the case, most of the work was observational. To be fair, unless you are a trained medical professional, I wouldn't want you making decisions about my health either. The program does put you in the hospital, and for a go-getter personality, you can interact with the doctors; asking questions, learning about the healthcare system, and the public health concerns of the community. I found that aspect incredibly rewarding.
Everything is in Spanish, you don't need to be confident, but it helps if you can put together sentences. After spending two months there my ability to listen to Spanish increased tremendously. The Projects Abroad Staff do speak English, but why deny yourself this great opportunity. The first time I realized I was having a conversation and not 'thinking' about the words was an amazing moment!
As of the time this post is written, the medical program is not a high level of time commitment (only half day). The current coordinator is working to augment the community service component and opportunities to make more busy work. I found the people of Cordoba to be very friendly and easy to make friends. Additionally, if you have the motivation, you can find additional ways to get involved with the community (for example, I was working with AIDS Health Foundation Argentina). There is always something to do, and the night life is insane (starts at 2AM goes till 6AM)!
The program does offer housing, insurance, and guaranteed food from your host family. However, the traditional style foods or Argentina lack variety. After a few weeks, your flavor palate will crave something different, so be prepared because sometimes you may want to treat yourself to ice cream, beer, coffee, or a full-dinner.
Lastly the tourism part, it is very much doable, at your own expense. The country is HUGE and there is a lot to see. The most cost effective means of travel is bus, but expect half-a-day journey just to arrive. If you choose to fly the cost adds up, but it can be very quick. I choose to do a bus overnighter as the seats are semi-cama (half-beds) and lay flatter than an economy airplane seat. This saved on the cost of hotel for a night and mitigated travel times.
Projects Abroad responded to this review February 14, 2018 at 4:36 PM
We are happy to hear that overall your experience was satisfactory and that you were able to learn from the doctors you were interacting with. We regret if there was any confusion as to what to expect in your program. We do take honesty very seriously in all of our marketing efforts and work very hard to depict our programs accurately. We make sure to inform all volunteers who sign up for medical projects that the work we offer is observational and a learning experience from qualified doctors. Hands-on work with patients can never be guaranteed as volunteers are not qualified doctors, just like you point out in your post. In short, volunteers are able to do anything that you would legally be allowed to do here in the US.
To add even more value to the medical projects in Argentina we have already implemented more hours at the hospitals and more outreaches in different communities.
Thank you for your feedback!