Spring break is a time most students take off from their studies for a well-deserved break. And no one needs it more than pre-med & medical students. However, most students choose not to indulge in the traditional spring break culture for fear that all their studying will go to waste. But who says spring break can waste away the information you worked so hard to retain?
An alternative spring break for pre-med & medical students balances travel, adventure, and relaxation with academic and career advancement. While exploring a new country in Latin America, pre-med & medical students can join medical volunteer campaigns that give back to the local communities, medical internship programs that place them at local clinics and hospitals, and take Spanish courses to advance their medical Spanish skills to help serve better the growing Spanish speaking community. In addition, students can earn college credit while abroad which transfer back to their home university.
Here’s an in-depth look at what an alternative spring break for pre-med & medical students could be like for you.
Medical volunteer campaigns are coordinated by onsite medical specialists at each Maximo Nivel destination – Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Medical volunteer campaign places pre-med & med students’ groups in rural areas where access to medical services and facilities are limited. Students partner with local licensed healthcare professionals to ensure that residents receive proper care.
Depending on the destination, the medical volunteer campaign might focus on medical check-ups, preventative care, distribution of antiparasitic medication, and sanitary hygiene. Pre-med & med students work hands-on to assist in day-to-day operations. Some duties might include measuring vital signs – temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate – height and weight measurements, reflex checks, general observations, symptom analysis, creating and updating patient charts, distributing medication, community education and outreach, and more.
Choosing an alternative spring break that includes a medical volunteer campaign is sure to attract the attention of med school admissions reps and future employers. Stepping out of your comfort zone in order to advance yourself academically and professionally shows a dedication to your studies and that you’re serious about a future career in the medical industry. It’s a great experience to focus your admissions essay and you’ll be guaranteed to have gained a new perspective on global healthcare and patient service.
Pre-med & medical students interested in spending their spring break completing an internship abroad are placed at a public or private hospital, a local clinic, or an assisted living facility. Medical interns shadow medical professionals who help to guide you in providing daily assistance and support throughout the facility.
Students are placed at internship sites based on career goals, completed courses, and prior experience. Students can be assigned to triage, patient records, elderly care, and health education. Responsibilities include checking-in patients, accurately recording medical notes, distributing medication, adhering to patient schedules, coordinating events, conducting education seminars, outreach to the local communities, and more.
With a medical internship abroad, you’ll gain practical medical experience which helps to boost your med school applications and employability. You’ll be exposed to a foreign healthcare system which functions on fewer resources and basic technology which will develop your creativity, innovation, teamwork, and collaboration. Interns are also granted one-hour of free Spanish courses to help improve Spanish medical terminology, helpful for communicating with other medical professionals and patients.
Did you know that bilingual employees are offered anywhere from 5%-20% more than their unilingual counterparts? So, it isn’t surprising to learn that while some pre-med & med students are eager to get hands-on, professional experience, others might be more interested in focusing strictly on advancing their Spanish.
To make the most of your alternative spring break, students can consider a super-intensive program. The super-intensive program includes 6 hours of Spanish instruction per day – 4 hours in small-group courses, followed by 2 hours of private courses. The small group classes provide a well-rounded curriculum based on grammatical structures, speaking and pronunciation, listening skills, reading comprehension, and writing. The 2-hour private lessons can be focused specifically on medical terminology and are created especially for healthcare professionals.
Students looking to earn academic credit can also enroll in the Spanish 370 course where they develop vocabulary and proficiency for effective use in healthcare settings. The course prepares students by actively focusing on healthcare topics and utilizes role play, research, and guest speakers when possible. Further advancement in this course sees the introduction of discussions regarding medical specialties of most interest to, or which can be directly applied to, students’ study.
Focusing on the medical Spanish portion of your program will prepare you to connect instantly with your Spanish speaking patients. While the Spanish speaking population continues to increase in the United States, it’s imperative that healthcare professionals are able to immediately understand their needs. Having to rely on translators can result in the delay of an urgent medical emergency.
Spring break is the perfect time to refine and update your knowledge as a pre-med & medical student. Enrolling for a medical volunteer campaign, international internship, or Spanish courses can greatly improve your chances of being chosen for medical school or a career opportunity. In addition, you’ll have a unique opportunity to learn all about a foreign healthcare system and the Latin American culture.