I signed up for the 4-week Medical Placement in Ho Chi Minh project this summer, wanting to both travel to Asia and gain some experience in the medical field, and was pleasantly surprised by what this program had to offer.
Not only has volunteering in Vietnam allowed me to gain some insight on the health care system of a third-world country, but it has also given me the opportunity to witness some medical procedures I have yet not had the chance to see as a second year medical student in Canada.
This program takes place in an orthopedics hospital in which we would rotate, from day to day, between the many different departments it has to offer. My personal favorites were radiology and surgery, but there are also wound care, rehabilitation (mostly for patients that have had a stroke of children with various physical disabilities), acupuncture and traditional medicine departments.
The volunteering consisted mostly of observation, but the doctors listened to our thoughts and opinions about the cases and would sometimes allow us to participate in more concrete tasks, such as giving some injections or even scrub in in surgeries, depending on our qualifications.
Aside from the volunteering in the hospital, I am satisfied with the overall experience I had with this program. It was very organized and we were very well taken care of. The coordinators were very friendly; they did an amazing job at guiding us through the city, recommending us the good places to go out at night and answered all of our questions. Other than the overcrowded and somewhat poorly–maintained facilities, I have nothing to complain about.
I am glad I chose GoEco and I am glad I chose Vietnam. It is a beautiful country and there are so many activities to do and so many places to visit during the weekend!