Volunteer Abroad

Has anyone done one of those volunteer abroad programs? I was looking at some online and they have some major fees, not including travel expenses. You could stay at a 4 star all-inclusive resort in Mexico for some of those prices. I realize that you are housed and fed in modest accommodations and I am fine with that. But, I obviously would like to be doing medical related work and they cannot even guarantee what kind of placement you will receive. I also realize volunteering in any context is important, but I do plenty of that already.

Any suggestions?

I looked into some of these assignments while I was doing my post-bacc. It seemed like an ideal time as my lifestyle was changing considerably anyway.

However, the more I learned about each program, the more discouraged I became. Every one that I researched left me with the impression that they were trying to take unfair advantage in one way or another of naive, young, well-meaning men and women. Even those that were expenses-paid 3-6 week “opportunities” seemed like they were just looking to fill labor gaps with willing volunteers who had no leverage in what they would be expected to do.

I believe there must be worthwhile international programs available. I just didn’t find them among the numerous sucker-hunters I came across.

This program is a good one.

Child Family Health International. http://www.cfhi.org

Evaleen Jones, MD, who started this program was a Stanford med student, and is still associated with Stanford. Her program has an excellent reputation.