By Nina Escueta
Have you ever wondered how you could make a difference? Do you ever feel the urge to explore other parts of the world? In between exams, jobs, and extracurricular activities, it’s easy for students to get caught up in the daily stress of life. Some of us, however, have found a way to satisfy both their love for volunteering and their growing wanderlust: join MEDLIFE (a pre-approved Global Health Field Experience opportunity).
MEDLIFE is a non-profit organization at UCSD that strives to improve the health and welfare of underserved communities in different countries. Their efforts include trying to better healthcare delivery, creating educational resources, and performing development projects that are meant to create a lasting impact in the area long after volunteers have returned home. They have been privileged enough to help people in Peru, Ecuador and, most recently, in Tanzania.
Tiffany Luu, a third year human biology major, volunteered with MEDLIFE this past summer in Cusco, Peru. Tiffany is the current Vice President of Mind Body Nutrition and Outreach Advancement Towards Hope. She aspires to be a physician assistant.
As a volunteer with MEDLIFE, Tiffany helped set up community clinics throughout Peru and work on a development project.
N: What would you say were some of the highlights of your trip?
T: The best part of being able to volunteer at the community clinics was to work alongside the health care providers as they were providing care. This helped to solidify my own desire to go into medicine, and to be able to make the same kind of positive impact that the doctors, dentists, and nurses were making.
N: Do you have any fun facts about your experience?
T: My favorite area to help with was the tooth-brushing station. I was able to teach the kids how to brush their teeth and apply fluoride. Working with the kids was so much fun because a lot of them were enthusiastic about learning and playing around with the volunteers.
N: How was the view of the top of Machu Picchu.
T: The view was absolutely beautiful! The view was definitely worth the hike up.