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Introduction to Public Health in the Caribbean
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Introduction to Public Health in the Caribbean

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Personal Development

    10

Public health in the Caribbean

This program was great! super well organized, definitely pack more pants/leggings than the packing list says. i never used my long sleeves, its super hot in the Dominican Republic so be prepared! the leaders and group were great, i highly recommend this trip for anybody interested in public health or just issues in the Dominican Republic.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

Public health in the Caribbean ; an amazing experience!

I recently returned from the 16 day trip to the Dominican Republic called Introduction to Public Health in the Caribbean with Rustic Pathways.

Even before I set out for the trip, I felt welcomed and cared for by Rustic Pathways staff. They consistently sent out emails and mail to keep me informed and excited about my upcoming trip. Additionally, they were very easy to get into contact with and to answer any questions. This continued throughout the whole trip.

My program leaders were absolutely amazing. All three of them were not only kind, funny, smart, and welcoming people, but they were all very experienced leaders and had strong backgrounds in both Spanish and public health, making them the ideal leaders for the program! Their enthusiasm and passion for public health was clearly evident throughout the trip, and had a major impact on me.

The beginning of the trip was spent visiting local hospitals, clinics, and NGOs in the Santo Domingo area. These visits were very informative and were a great way to kick off the program. We learned a lot about maternal health and the overall healthcare situation in the country through these visits, and this information we would then take with us throughout the rest of he trip.

We then went to our base camp in San Pedro which was a beautiful house about 30 minutes away from where we would be doing all of our community service. Working with leaders living in this part of the Dominican Republic, we went into several different bateys to complete our 30 hours of community service. In the primary batey we were doing community service in, we helped build two latrines and a few cement cement floors. Both children and adults alike from the bateys came out and helped over the three days were we working there. The locals were extremely friendly and inviting and seemed genuinely happy that we were there. As a Spanish learner, it was also a great immersion oppurtunity.

Perhaps my favorite part of the community service period was the kids' clinic and camp we put on over the course of two days. As a group, we went into four different bateys over those two days. Half of the day we would spend doing a clinic type activity. We set up several tables and divided ourselves up into small groups. Children and their parent(s) would then come through each station we had set up, and receive vitamins and antiparisite medications, in addition to being weighed and measured if they were under five years old. The other half of the day was spent putting on games for children ages 3-9. We got to come up with a variety of games and activities surrounding the idea of health that we would then play with the local children. These two days felt incredibly hands on and also felt incredibly applicable to what we had learned about during our Wildreness First Aid training and our visits to healthcare orginizations.

Outside of learning and service, the trip was also super fun! Trips to the market, time spent in the base camp's pool, and endless group games meant that we were able to catch breaks from our busy days of learning and service just to relax and have fun. Additionally, there was a beach afternoon at an amazing beach following our wilderness first aid training, which was a great oppurtunity to relax before starting our community service. The last few days of the trip were amazing as well. We took a ferry ride to Samaná and stayed in a really nice hostel for the last two nights, and spent one day hiking to la cascada del limón, and the other day at another amazing beach, both of which were a great way to close up the trip!

I would absolutely recommend this trip to anyone who loves medicine, learning, service, Spanish (though you definitely don't need to speak it to go on the trip), and anyone thinking about pursuing a career in the medical field.

I am super happy I did this program!