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Volunteering in India – The World of Medicine

The small hospital waiting room was crowded––full of patients from the surrounding villages seeking medical treatment. The doctor and medical staff hurried to and fro, despite the stifling heat, to treat the overload of patients. This was the scene in Karan Hospital, just outside of Palampur, India, every day. The doctors are heroes here, working endlessly to observe, diagnose and treat the plenitude of patients––a job of at least five doctors in a Western medicine facility. This is what medicine, the pursuit of helping people, is all about.

And nothing made me more excited about pursuing a career in medicine than seeing the tireless work of the medical staff while volunteering in India for the Medical and Health Care Internship.

Palampur is beautiful. It is a small town with bustling market streets surrounded by picturesque rice and tea plantations and the epic wall of snow capped rock that is the Himalayas. The food is delicious and wafts aromas of the spices of the Far East. The people are kind and willing to invite you into your homes. Palampur is truly the gem of India, the perfect sample of this exotic and culturally rich country.

My home for three weeks was a humble volunteer house nestled in the farmland outside of Palampur. The rooms were cool, the bathrooms clean and our cook a master of his craft. I will always remember the volunteer house with fondness, from the relaxing atmosphere to the late night talks with the co-volunteers.

But most importantly, I will always remember the doctors. I will always remember their valuable insight into what it takes to be good in medicine. I will remember the hundreds of patients I saw and the look of relief their faces showed under the calming masterful hands of the doctors treating them of their illness. This health care internship was truly an experience to remember. The skills and advice learned and given are truly invaluable and will stick with me throughout medical school, residency, my career, and even until I die.