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This project aims to provide pre-medical/pre-nursing and medical/nursing students with a unique medical internship in Palampur. Placements are located in hospitals, clinics, medical colleges, and community clinics. There are also specialized placements for Physiotherapy, Midwifery and Speech Therapy students in Palampur, for those qualified and interested. The program's goal is to expose all medical and nursing students to India's method of medical practice and teach students about different diseases, treatment methods and experience what its like to intern at a hospital with limited resources.

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Location of the Project:  Palampur, India
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi) for volunteers attending the orientation; Gaggal Airport in Dharamsala for all other volunteers
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Volunteer Work:  Volunteers help medical professionals in their daily work
Age:  18 - 40
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Important Note:  Visa: You should to apply to this project at 1 - 2 months before your chosen start date in order to ensure that you have enough time to obtain the proper visa. The visa process is lengthy and can take up to 2 months.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Host family or shared volunteer house
Food:  Three vegetarian meals a day (excluding lunch during orientation week)
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Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup upon arrival
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, lunch during orientation week, visa (Required)

Palampur is a small town nestled in the Himalayan foothills in Himachal Pradesh. While it is a fairly small town, it serves over 50 villages in the surrounding area, so it can get quite busy at times. Palampur is not only famous for its beautiful tea plantations and its low lying pine forests, but also for its two existing universities. One is an Agricultural University, and the other specializes in Veterinary Medicine. Although Palampur seems isolated, it is actually very well connected to other parts of India. There is an airport in Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan government in exile as well as the Dalai Lama, and it is only an hour's drive away from the town. There are also daily air-conditioned buses to Delhi and other major cities in North India, making it easy to get around and explore all this beautiful country has to offer.

Following orientation week in Delhi, interns continue on to their designated projects in Palampur.

As an intern, you work alongside experienced medical staff while they carry out their daily routine. Pre-med/nursing or those in first or second-year of medical/nursing school will primarily shadow the team. Medical and nursing students will have the opportunity to observe as well as assist the doctors and other medical staff at their placements. You will be given tasks according to your level of knowledge, skills and confidence. If you have experience, please bring a copy of your certifications.

The project tasks are mainly observational and shadow-based, unless you have the certification to do more. Your main role will be to work with and learn from local medical professionals in some or all areas of the center, though you will usually work in general medicine or OPD in the hospital. 

To make the most out of your placement, it is very important to build trust with the local medical staff and respect India's methods of medical practice and treatment, as it may be very different from what you are used to in your home country. 

A typical day: You will intern for about 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. Your hours may vary according to the volume of patients visiting the center where you are placed. Your responsibilities will also vary based on your level of experience and schooling. If you have a broad knowledge and extensive experience in the healthcare and medical field, you may receive a slightly more hands-on experience.

Internet
Internet:  Free internet access is available at the local office in Palampur and at the accommodation.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  You will stay in shared, mixed gender rooms in one of two intern houses in Palampur. You will be placed in accommodation depending on the distance from the project and the type of program you are completing. Living is comfortable and intern houses have electricity, running water and hot water heaters. (Please be advised that centralized heating systems are not commonly installed in Indian households). You will be provided with a basic bed, mattress, pillow, bed sheet and blanket. The accommodations are within walking distance of most of the projects. Transportation to Dharamsala is just 40 minutes by local bus. Accommodations are located approximately 20 minutes from the main Palampur town market.
Food:  Three vegetarian meals are provided daily. Breakfast is usually comprised of tea, bread, butter, jam, and parathas (Indian bread stuffed with vegetables). Lunch and dinner is usually comprised of dal (lentil curry), mixed curry, vegetables, salad, roti (Indian bread), and fruit.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Must be a pre-med, medical, or nursing student
  • Good level of English
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Immunizations (consult your doctor)
  • CV / Resume
  • Must be 18 years old and up

You are encouraged to explore India on your time off. Take a trip to Dharamshala, experience the culture of India through its colorful festivals, unique dance, and diverse architecture. On the weekend you can also go Paragliding at Bir (one of the most famous paragliding sites in India) or do a trek with the other program participants at Triund.

Orientation Week (Highly Recommended)
Prior to your volunteering start date, you can join an extensive and interesting one-week orientation program in Delhi. You will have the opportunity to visit Humayun’s Tomb, Lotus Temple, tour the the Akshardham Temple (the largest Hindu temple in the world), take Hindi language classes, learn about India's unique culture, watch a Bollywood movie, and eat at an authentic Indian restaurant.  This is a fun opportunity to familiarize yourself with the country and meet other like-minded interns from all around the world. The extra fee for this week is US$250 and you may book this following registration. 

Recreation: Yoga class once a week.

Volunteer Experiences
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