Alumni Testimonials

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Experience Challenged Me To Advocate for Better Healthcare for All

Judy Birchmier

Morningside College

Experience Challenged Me To Advocate for Better Healthcare for All

To say my experience in Kenya was amazing would be an understatement. My experience in Kenya with IMA was truly life changing. It opened my eyes to many things including the differences in health care delivery, culture, politics, disease burden and much more. My first day in Kenya I was welcomed at the airport by IMA staff, they immediately made me feel welcome and safe. All Kenyans truly made me feel welcome and safe. There smile, spirit, and culture was immediately evident and welcoming. As we drove to the residence IMA staff gave me a brief education on the areas we were passing by. They pointed out Coast General from the road so I could see just how large the public hospital was from a distance, soon where I’d be interning. They pointed out the different shops (how most make a living in Kenya) and the differences in driving from what I am accustomed to in the United States.Upon arrival to the residence, they helped me get my bags......

Home Away from Home

Sarah B.

University of Ottawa

Home Away from Home

My accommodations were better than when I go on a personal vacation: always got the best food, having a chef allowed us to get to taste so many different food from the country, beautiful home, so comfortable, absolutely felt like a home away from home! There is so much support from the IMA crew, always someone there for you, they even provide you with a SIM card to make sure you have a way to communicate with them and others at anytime. Our mentor was always available through e-mail and replies so fast. No matter what was the resquest, they found a way to answer to it and made it safe for all the interns. Only positive comments really!I went on the Safari in Nairobi: loved the fact that the IMA team had everything set for you once you had paid the required fee like the plane tickets, the rides from the airport to hotels, rides all over the city, some of the meals, etc. You had one job......

Forever Changed My Life and My Perspective on Healthcare

Isabelle Hammack

San Francisco State University

Forever Changed My Life and My Perspective on Healthcare

My experience in Mombasa was life changing. The people I met and all that I learned while working at CPGH was irreplaceable. I worked in the nutrition department at CPGH and saw so many different types of conditions and learned so much about the health care system in Kenya. The support from the International Medical Aid’s staff was amazing. Bella and Husna were always there when I needed something and I felt like they truly cared about my well-being and experience. The food at the house was AMAZING to say the least. I am a pescatarian and don’t eat poultry or red meat and they were so accommodating! Their fish was so delicious and tasted so fresh. All of the cooks were so sweet as well and they even let me use the kitchen one night to bake chocolate chip cookies! International Medical Aid and my trip to Kenya was truly amazing and I can’t wait till I get to go back one day. The impact this experience had......

Loved Every Aspect of Working with International Medical Aid

Jessica Byrne

University of Delaware

Loved Every Aspect of Working with International Medical Aid

I loved every moment and every aspect of working with International Medical Aid! The staff of program mentors and interns was incredible. They were extremely efficient and made everything run smoothly, ensuring the success and well-being of each volunteer. They were so kind and I always felt welcomed and encouraged! The living accommodations and food were also great! Joshua and the support staff were the best, and I always looked forward to coming down in the morning to chat with them. The safety could not have been better. I never once felt unsafe or worried. Driving accommodations were always provided and we were introduced to our surrounding areas on foot, which provided a sense of familiarity and comfort. IMA proved to be extremely thorough in making me feel safe. The days were split nicely. In the morning, we would work in the hospital and usually do a cultural trek or community outreach in the afternoon/on the weekends. Going out into the community and meeting the individuals in their neighborhoods......

Coming Back to Kenya with IMA for a Second Time was the Best Decision

Katie Fairhurst

University of Pittsburgh

Coming Back to Kenya with IMA for a Second Time was the Best Decision

My time in Kenya was a whirlwind of some of the best memories, friends, and experiences that I will never forget. From night shifts, weekend treks, to community outreach opportunities, my internship taught me valuable lessons that I will carry with me as I pursue a career in medicine, and I am so grateful for the mentors I had the opportunity to learn from at Coast General.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ While the academic component of learning about treatments and diseases was a large part of my experience in Kenya, some of the most important things that I learned on my trip were actually the ones having nothing to do with reading x-rays or determining the cause of chest pain. I learned how a simple hand-hold can comfort someone who has lost their ability to speak. I learned how simply listening and being present is a crucial part of gaining a stranger’s trust. All these lessons that I learned at Coast General are ones that instilled in me the kind of doctor that I......

So Glad That I Took the Leap and Applied for International Medical Aid

Shana Thomas

Texas Tech University

So Glad That I Took the Leap and Applied for International Medical Aid

I stumbled up International Medical Aid’s website while looking for an opportunity to gain experience in the healthcare field. This program stood out to me because the internship was unique in providing insight to specific health care roles. As a Pre-PA student, my experience up to this point was limited to working as a nursing assistant in a brain injury rehab and in an emergency room. Although these experiences were valuable in forming the foundation for my career goals, there was a whole other side of healthcare that I had yet to see. I was curious to learn more about how healthcare in other countries differed from that of the USA. Out of curiosity, I decided to apply for International Medical Aid’s pre-pa internship. After a few months, I received the news that I was accepted. I was terrified, but excited at the same time. I had never traveled alone, but I needed to push past my comfort zone and learn more about the world outside of my two-story......

This Internship Gave Me Much More Than I Could Have Ever Asked For

Alejandra Rivera

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

This Internship Gave Me Much More Than I Could Have Ever Asked For

Medicine has always been my passion, however the road to get into medical school is a tough and competitive one. My purpose for volunteering abroad was to learn, encourage, and remind myself the reason why I decided to take this road. Being a pre- med student in Canada can sometimes get discouraging since we get absolutely no clinical experience or courses related to medicine, besides basic science. Even volunteering opportunities at hospitals are narrow and not really hands-on. Having said so, I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that International Medical Aid offered me and the inspiration and courage they seeded in me to pursue my dream with more determination than ever. The reason why I have chosen medicine is to help others to the best of my abilities. I was born and raised in Honduras, also a developing country, and ever since I participated in brigades there, I was motivated to dedicate my life to serving those in need. World Health has always been an interest of......

Experience Will Make Me A Better Doctor

Anna Marduy

União Metropolitana de Ensino e Cultura

Experience Will Make Me A Better Doctor

In July of 2019, I went to my first health-related experience abroad as a medical student. I spent four weeks in Mombasa, Kenya, shadowing physicians from the country’s second-largest public hospital, and learning about the Kenyan culture and healthcare system. My goal through this experience was to learn and understand how a country, different than my own, manages public healthcare, to perceive how culture plays a part in healthcare, and precisely what role I can assume, as a future doctor, to better global health care. I firmly believe that a great doctor cannot be limited to their home surroundings to treat a patient holistically. They must be knowledgeable about different cultures and beliefs and the way that disease manifests in different ethnicities and backgrounds. My trip to Kenya had the sole objective of putting me on the path to becoming, what I regard as a great doctor.Similarl to Brazil’s public healthcare sector, Kenya has four levels of public healthcare services: primary, secondary, tertiary, and urgent. During my time in......

Kathleen M

Kathleen M

Cleveland Clinic

Kathleen M

My time in Kenya was incredibly eye-opening and worthwhile. The staff was excellent and very helpful. The residence was safe and comfortable. The food provided offered a nice variety and was always plentiful and fresh. Transportation to the hospital and cultural sites was efficient and safe. There is a whole team of people that cared about your well-being and your experience. They always checked-in to make sure that you were doing well and that your internship was living up to expectations. They were always willing to discuss life and culture in Kenya. Benson was particularly kind and compassionate–he really cares about what he does and about the experience the interns have. Husna was also extremely helpful and informative and Bella was always there when you needed something or had a question. An experience like this change how you view the world and also makes you think about your role in it. I wish I could have stayed twice as long–there was so much more to do and see. Back......

Last Six Weeks Have Both Exceeded and Challenged My Expectations

Fiona Huang

University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine

Last Six Weeks Have Both Exceeded and Challenged My Expectations

Programme was very well run, with the local staff ensuring we were all coordinated in our placements and maximising learning opportunities. They were very helpful with arranging extra learning opportunities too, and I always felt comfortable to bring up any issues or requests. Really appreciated the extra local experiences and tours, I feel it was incredibly enriching to learn about the social and historical context of Kenya. The house was very comfortable and we were incredibly well looked after, from the room cleans to the large variety of delicious food cooked for us daily. The clinics and outreach gave variety to our experience, loved going to new places, meeting new people and learning new skills. Safari was well planned. The guides we had were excellent, the accommodation much more luxurious than what I was used to/expecting!A fascination with transcultural psychiatry was what initially set me on the path to want to become a psychiatrist, and an unforgettable six weeks in Kenya.All through medical school I was determined to work in......

Indescribable Experience on Personal and Professional Level

Cassandra Carey

Niagara University

Indescribable Experience on Personal and Professional Level

My experience through IMA will forever be held in my heart. The impact this has made on not only my nursing career but also on a personal level is truly indescribable. My perspective on life has totally changed and I’ve learned to view things with in broader perspective and with an open heart to all people of all cultures. Nursing requires me to be competent in many things besides just skills. Patients rely on me as their advocate, their hand to hold when no one else is there for them and someone they can trust. My time in Kenya gave me a new perspective on how to do those things and be a better nurse to my patients. The clinical experience was almost better than my experiences at home. To be able to watch how nurses and doctors improvise to deliver the same care to patients at the standard level with limited resources was interesting but most importantly their desire to want to help people and to learn new......

Internship Has Motivated Me Beyond Belief

Hannah Cantwell

Rhodes College

Internship Has Motivated Me Beyond Belief

Before my internship with International Medical Aid, I was conflicted with my future career path. Since eighth grade I had my heart set on being a pediatrician or a family practitioner, but as I grew older I developed a new interest of public health and health equity. Recently, I have been struggling with combining my two passions. As I did more research, I discovered disaster relief medicine, international medicine, or work with communities who have inequitable access to health care are possibilities. In these career paths, I can practice medicine while creating more equitable and sustainable access to quality health care. But this past summer, I started to doubt my ability to take on the challenges of medical school – as its no easy task – and I was unsure if I was cut out for long hours, intense workload, and honestly, blood.Within a couple hours of my first day in the Labor Ward, I knew I could handle blood. I remember it clearly. By 10am Monday morning there......

Internships Allowed Me to Develop a Deeper Appreciation for Medicine

Ivy Klabunde

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Internships Allowed Me to Develop a Deeper Appreciation for Medicine

Boarding my flight for Kenya, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I would be in a hospital rotating through different specialties and volunteering during the week. I chose to observe a variety of specialties in order to expose myself to a variety of cases within the hospital. I also knew that I would get out of my experience what I put in. I went into this trip with an open mind and willingness to learn. I wanted to take this as an opportunity to motivate me in my academic career moving forward. I knew that I wanted to go to school to become a physician assistant, but I wanted to begin my exposure to medicine in an environment that is completely different from the United States. In doing this, I would allow myself to step out of my comfort zone in order to learn the most about not only medicine in Kenya, but also the way of life there. I could then also realize how fortunate we......

Roots of Change

Emma Marchese

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Roots of Change

From an early age, I dreamt of traveling to an African region, out of my comfort zone andinto a world of contrast. I’m not entirely sure why—perhaps I was transfixed by images from commercials or something that would show up on my TV—but it had been a very conscious goal of mine. I wanted to know why others were different than me. I wanted to see how they lived. I wanted to see if they actually receive Americans with smiles, just as the United States mediaportrays when describing our effect on Africa’s poverty. Admittedly, this image of Africa is what I expected. And to a certain extent, this is actually what I saw. Thousands of kids would overwhelm me with love and joy at hygiene clinics. Orphans would cling and wail as I said goodbye after just a short visit. People would see my scrubs and would actually thank me for coming to their under-resourced, under-staffed hospital (even though I didn’t benefit them in any way). While I stood......

Blessed with This Opportunity and All Its Teachings

Cleyling Lassalle

University of South Florida

Blessed with This Opportunity and All Its Teachings

For the past three years, I have worked as a 5th grade bilingual Math/Science teacher in the southwest side of Chicago. I became a teacher through the program Teach for America, whose mission is, “enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity excellence.” Although the United States of America is a developed nation, it is a country where racism still persists and is one of the main roots of a major challenge: educational inequity. Unfortunately, many children are still lacking the proper education and opportunities that can help them grow economically and academically, which then perpetuates their family’s low- income household. I have seen the ways that mismanagement of a nation’s economy can benefit some whilst hurting others. Something that I see lacking a lot in the low-income communities and their public schools, is a massive under resourcing of mental health professionals.My experience as a teacher, paired with my undergraduate degree in psychology,......

Program Taught Me So Much About Healthcare Delivery

Andrew

Davidson College

Program Taught Me So Much About Healthcare Delivery

As I look back at my stay in Kenya this summer, I am struck by the incredible knowledge and experience I was able to obtain from my peers and mentors in the hospital. From seeing a natural birth for the first time to seeing neurosurgery on a 7-year-old boy, I realize the wealth of information I was exposed to. I am so grateful for the opportunities I was given to learn more about healthcare in such a different environment. During my internship, I learned how to be empathetic, sure of myself, and how to remain calm in high-stress situations. When comparing what I saw at Coast General Hospital versus what I have experienced in hospitals here in the United States, the biggest differences that jumped out were the state of medical issues presented, and the resources available to treat said issues.The easiest way to sum up the difference between the care I saw in Kenya and the United States is that in Kenya, the majority of treatment is reactive......

Experience in Kenya Strengthened My Resolve to Pursue a Career in Healthcare

Brenn Manwaring

Brigham Young University

Experience in Kenya Strengthened My Resolve to Pursue a Career in Healthcare

The administration was amazing and very accommodating and I made life-long friends among them. There was never a moment that I was in there company that I felt unsafe or frightened. The residence was great and despite the lack of infrastructure of the nation everything worked to the extent that I could feel sanitary and relaxed. The food and the kitchen staff were great. The way to really make it an amazing experience though was to put yourself out there and make as many friends as you possibly could. I am glad to know that I now have friends from all over the world. I loved the experience and found a new love for Kenya and its people that I never thought I would have.During my time in Kenya, I learned so much about how politics and cultural differences affect healthcare delivery and quality. Growing up in America, I don’t often consider the cost or availability of healthcare. Resources such as technology, equipment and supplies seem readily available to......

Best Experience of My Life

Chloë Jay

Bellevue College/Redmond Care and Rehabilitation Center

Best Experience of My Life

My clinical internship in Mombasa, Kenya was the best experience of my life thus far. It has been a month since I have been home in the states, and not a day has passed that I have not dreamed of the people, culture, hospital wards, and the incredibly vibrant spirit that is Kenya. My whole family did not want me to come; they were afraid for my wellbeing. After fundraising the cost of my trip, they couldn’t have been happier when I assured them of my safety at the residence in Kenya. The entire staff went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and at home during our stay. The hospitality and cooking were unlike any I’d ever had – we were so welcomed and loved. I learned more than I ever thought I would during my internship and rotations in the hospital. I spent every day with my jaw to the floor, in complete awe of my surroundings. This experience awoken my soul and changed what direction......

Internship Impacted Me in Ways I Never Expected

Katherine Chen

McMaster University

Internship Impacted Me in Ways I Never Expected

An unforgettable experience where I learned more than I have ever expected and grew to appreciate the Kenyan culture and history. Staff went above and beyond to make everyone feel at home and when accommodating requests. Residence was very clean and the food was amazing (both prepared by Chef Joshua and the restaurants we visited such as Mubins Cafe). The internship impacted me in ways I never expected. It taught me many lessons such as humbleness and appreciation and I left the country a different person for the better. I went on the Watamu Beach Safari and it was a great experience filled with adventure and education. I loved how we were able to have fun, try new foods (ex. local seafood) and learn something new such as the history behind the Portuguese Church and the Gedi Ruins. Some portions of the trip could have been longer such as when we went snorkeling and when we were able to get off the boat and into the water, but overall......

My Experience Will Guide My Future Path

Corinna M

ISGlobal/Universitat de Barcelona

My Experience Will Guide My Future Path

As I reflect on my experiences with International Medical Aid (IMA) at Coast General Hospital, I am reminded of an ancient African proverb, “seeing is different than being told”. This priceless Internship placement with IMA has shed more light onto this age-old saying. I am still in disbelief, as I reflect on my encounters with patients, healthcare members, and health systems. Some experiences were as if they were drawn straight from Global Health textbooks, while other clinical presentations were so uncommon, it baffled even the most senior of nursing staff. In the States, I have been a practicing Nurse in the perioperative environment for over six years. However, my desire to help others globally is what initially propelled me into the nursing field since Iwas a young girl. This ambition, lead me to complete my Master of Global Health in 2018. However, a deeper curiosity remained, to hopefully yet experience and expand my theoretical knowledge of Global Health and Nursing. This calling eventually lead me to Mombasa, Kenya with......

Incredible Experience with International Medical Aid

Angela

California State University of Fullerton

Incredible Experience with International Medical Aid

My experience in Kenya was incredible. In terms of interning at CPGH, I was exposed to so many cases and learning opportunities, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. The doctors and nurses were for the most part very helpful and instructive. The tours and treks I was a part of, shaped my stay in Kenya in so many ways. I was taught so much on the culture, food, traditions, current setbacks, etc. The knowledge enriched my outlook on the country I was staying in for over a month. Being able to go on the safari and experience the Lion King in real life was indescribable. The food, attentiveness, and care that I received while staying in the residency was truly was made the trip feel like home. Every person I interacted with made sure I was happy, fed, and had clean scrubs every day. I was able to help cook a few meals for the interns and I, Joshua was incredible. I am still in awe......

Productive, Engaging, and Humbling Internship Experience

Patrick M

University of California, Los Angeles

Productive, Engaging, and Humbling Internship Experience

Prior to beginning my internship in Mombasa at Coast General Provincial Hospital, I had completed approximately 200 hours of medical volunteering in hospitals around Los Angeles, California. I had never been exposed to serious illnesses or diseases with pneumonia arguably being the most serious condition I have ever encountered. Most of the patients I had seen and interacted with simply had some sort of upper respiratory tract infection or were simply stricken with diabetes or obesity. Looking back, I could not have imagined all that I would be able to view and learn while rotating through the different departments at CPGH. During the internship, I was happily placed into the Pre-PA Program where I hoped to gather knowledge and shadowing experience from Clinical Officers which are the equivalents of PAs in Kenya.As for the unique and remarkably memorable cases I had the privilege of viewing firsthand, there was certainly no shortage of them. My very first case was of a two-year-old boy who was suffering from Ricketts. I had......

Entirely Different and Remarkable Experience

Carly Wiltshire

Registered Nurse, Convalescent Home of Winnipeg

Entirely Different and Remarkable Experience

The experience I had with IMA was entirely different than any health care or outreach experience I have had previously. Outside of hospital placements, it was wonderful getting to know the other participants on the program while learning about the culture of Mombasa, Kenya. The program mentors were phenomenal- extremely supportive and accommodated to my exact interests. They went out of their way to ensure I was having a good experience and had the opportunity to do everything I wanted to. The accommodations were very nice and in a very safe neighbourhood and we had incredible meals prepared by the resident chef. Regarding hospital placements, the experience is what you make of it. You need to be ready to dive in, be proactive, and build relationships. I underestimated how challenging the hospital placement would be, in terms of how mentally and emotionally draining it was. There are things I saw and experienced in the hospital that have made a permanent mark in my mind. I gained valuable insight into......

Experience Validated My Desire to Pursue Medicine

Abinaa Chandrakumar

University of Toronto

Experience Validated My Desire to Pursue Medicine

As this was my first trip alone, I was a little scared of what I might encounter in Kenya. However upon landing, Benson and Brian were very sweet and I felt already secure. When I approached the resident I felt safe to know that there was a security guard at all time and there were also cameras outside the door. The resident was clean and comfortable. Naomi and Joshua were amazing. They were super sweet and accommodating to whatever I needed. They’re energy and continuous smile was pleasant to see in the morning. Benson was very accommodating when it came to seeing the city and always asking for feedback, which I really liked! The program was very organized. The time table helped to know what and where I should be at all times. There were a lot of rotations and so I was able to get my first pick. The mentors at the hospital were very helpful and asked a lot of questions. I found this experience to be......

IMA’s program is the best decision I ever made

Cassidy Welsh

Memorial University of Newfoundland

IMA’s program is the best decision I ever made

This program is the best decision I ever made. The program mentors in Kenya helped me from the minute I got accepted to the moment I left. They were very approachable and friendly. I always felt safe during my stay in Kenya. The mentors go out of their way to ensure the safety of the interns. They provided us with tips that would further ensure out safety while they were not around. The accommodations were much better than I had anticipated. Our rooms were cleaned every day and we stayed in a very nice neighbourhood. The food never disappointed. All of the interns looked forwards to meals as it was always something yummy. This program had a huge impact on me. I have learned so much about Kenyan culture and was able to see and learn a lot. I was able strongly notice the differences between Kenya and North America. With the help of hygiene and medical clinics as well as other outreach activities, I hope I made some......

Experience Challenged Me To Advocate for Better Healthcare for All

Judy Birchmier

Morningside College

Experience Challenged Me To Advocate for Better Healthcare for All

To say my experience in Kenya was amazing would be an understatement. My experience in Kenya with IMA was truly life changing. It opened my eyes to many things including the differences in health care delivery, culture, politics, disease burden and much more. My first day in Kenya I was welcomed at the airport by IMA staff, they immediately made me feel welcome and safe. All Kenyans truly made me feel welcome and safe. There smile, spirit, and culture was immediately evident and welcoming. As we drove to the residence IMA staff gave me a brief education on the areas we were passing by. They pointed out Coast General from the road so I could see just how large the public hospital was from a distance, soon where I’d be interning. They pointed out the different shops (how most make a living in Kenya) and the differences in driving from what I am accustomed to in the United States.Upon arrival to the residence, they helped me get my bags......

Home Away from Home

Sarah B.

University of Ottawa

Home Away from Home

My accommodations were better than when I go on a personal vacation: always got the best food, having a chef allowed us to get to taste so many different food from the country, beautiful home, so comfortable, absolutely felt like a home away from home! There is so much support from the IMA crew, always someone there for you, they even provide you with a SIM card to make sure you have a way to communicate with them and others at anytime. Our mentor was always available through e-mail and replies so fast. No matter what was the resquest, they found a way to answer to it and made it safe for all the interns. Only positive comments really!I went on the Safari in Nairobi: loved the fact that the IMA team had everything set for you once you had paid the required fee like the plane tickets, the rides from the airport to hotels, rides all over the city, some of the meals, etc. You had one job......

Forever Changed My Life and My Perspective on Healthcare

Isabelle Hammack

San Francisco State University

Forever Changed My Life and My Perspective on Healthcare

My experience in Mombasa was life changing. The people I met and all that I learned while working at CPGH was irreplaceable. I worked in the nutrition department at CPGH and saw so many different types of conditions and learned so much about the health care system in Kenya. The support from the International Medical Aid’s staff was amazing. Bella and Husna were always there when I needed something and I felt like they truly cared about my well-being and experience. The food at the house was AMAZING to say the least. I am a pescatarian and don’t eat poultry or red meat and they were so accommodating! Their fish was so delicious and tasted so fresh. All of the cooks were so sweet as well and they even let me use the kitchen one night to bake chocolate chip cookies! International Medical Aid and my trip to Kenya was truly amazing and I can’t wait till I get to go back one day. The impact this experience had......

Loved Every Aspect of Working with International Medical Aid

Jessica Byrne

University of Delaware

Loved Every Aspect of Working with International Medical Aid

I loved every moment and every aspect of working with International Medical Aid! The staff of program mentors and interns was incredible. They were extremely efficient and made everything run smoothly, ensuring the success and well-being of each volunteer. They were so kind and I always felt welcomed and encouraged! The living accommodations and food were also great! Joshua and the support staff were the best, and I always looked forward to coming down in the morning to chat with them. The safety could not have been better. I never once felt unsafe or worried. Driving accommodations were always provided and we were introduced to our surrounding areas on foot, which provided a sense of familiarity and comfort. IMA proved to be extremely thorough in making me feel safe. The days were split nicely. In the morning, we would work in the hospital and usually do a cultural trek or community outreach in the afternoon/on the weekends. Going out into the community and meeting the individuals in their neighborhoods......

Coming Back to Kenya with IMA for a Second Time was the Best Decision

Katie Fairhurst

University of Pittsburgh

Coming Back to Kenya with IMA for a Second Time was the Best Decision

My time in Kenya was a whirlwind of some of the best memories, friends, and experiences that I will never forget. From night shifts, weekend treks, to community outreach opportunities, my internship taught me valuable lessons that I will carry with me as I pursue a career in medicine, and I am so grateful for the mentors I had the opportunity to learn from at Coast General.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ While the academic component of learning about treatments and diseases was a large part of my experience in Kenya, some of the most important things that I learned on my trip were actually the ones having nothing to do with reading x-rays or determining the cause of chest pain. I learned how a simple hand-hold can comfort someone who has lost their ability to speak. I learned how simply listening and being present is a crucial part of gaining a stranger’s trust. All these lessons that I learned at Coast General are ones that instilled in me the kind of doctor that I......

So Glad That I Took the Leap and Applied for International Medical Aid

Shana Thomas

Texas Tech University

So Glad That I Took the Leap and Applied for International Medical Aid

I stumbled up International Medical Aid’s website while looking for an opportunity to gain experience in the healthcare field. This program stood out to me because the internship was unique in providing insight to specific health care roles. As a Pre-PA student, my experience up to this point was limited to working as a nursing assistant in a brain injury rehab and in an emergency room. Although these experiences were valuable in forming the foundation for my career goals, there was a whole other side of healthcare that I had yet to see. I was curious to learn more about how healthcare in other countries differed from that of the USA. Out of curiosity, I decided to apply for International Medical Aid’s pre-pa internship. After a few months, I received the news that I was accepted. I was terrified, but excited at the same time. I had never traveled alone, but I needed to push past my comfort zone and learn more about the world outside of my two-story......

This Internship Gave Me Much More Than I Could Have Ever Asked For

Alejandra Rivera

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

This Internship Gave Me Much More Than I Could Have Ever Asked For

Medicine has always been my passion, however the road to get into medical school is a tough and competitive one. My purpose for volunteering abroad was to learn, encourage, and remind myself the reason why I decided to take this road. Being a pre- med student in Canada can sometimes get discouraging since we get absolutely no clinical experience or courses related to medicine, besides basic science. Even volunteering opportunities at hospitals are narrow and not really hands-on. Having said so, I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that International Medical Aid offered me and the inspiration and courage they seeded in me to pursue my dream with more determination than ever. The reason why I have chosen medicine is to help others to the best of my abilities. I was born and raised in Honduras, also a developing country, and ever since I participated in brigades there, I was motivated to dedicate my life to serving those in need. World Health has always been an interest of......

Experience Will Make Me A Better Doctor

Anna Marduy

União Metropolitana de Ensino e Cultura

Experience Will Make Me A Better Doctor

In July of 2019, I went to my first health-related experience abroad as a medical student. I spent four weeks in Mombasa, Kenya, shadowing physicians from the country’s second-largest public hospital, and learning about the Kenyan culture and healthcare system. My goal through this experience was to learn and understand how a country, different than my own, manages public healthcare, to perceive how culture plays a part in healthcare, and precisely what role I can assume, as a future doctor, to better global health care. I firmly believe that a great doctor cannot be limited to their home surroundings to treat a patient holistically. They must be knowledgeable about different cultures and beliefs and the way that disease manifests in different ethnicities and backgrounds. My trip to Kenya had the sole objective of putting me on the path to becoming, what I regard as a great doctor.Similarl to Brazil’s public healthcare sector, Kenya has four levels of public healthcare services: primary, secondary, tertiary, and urgent. During my time in......

Kathleen M

Kathleen M

Cleveland Clinic

Kathleen M

My time in Kenya was incredibly eye-opening and worthwhile. The staff was excellent and very helpful. The residence was safe and comfortable. The food provided offered a nice variety and was always plentiful and fresh. Transportation to the hospital and cultural sites was efficient and safe. There is a whole team of people that cared about your well-being and your experience. They always checked-in to make sure that you were doing well and that your internship was living up to expectations. They were always willing to discuss life and culture in Kenya. Benson was particularly kind and compassionate–he really cares about what he does and about the experience the interns have. Husna was also extremely helpful and informative and Bella was always there when you needed something or had a question. An experience like this change how you view the world and also makes you think about your role in it. I wish I could have stayed twice as long–there was so much more to do and see. Back......

Last Six Weeks Have Both Exceeded and Challenged My Expectations

Fiona Huang

University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine

Last Six Weeks Have Both Exceeded and Challenged My Expectations

Programme was very well run, with the local staff ensuring we were all coordinated in our placements and maximising learning opportunities. They were very helpful with arranging extra learning opportunities too, and I always felt comfortable to bring up any issues or requests. Really appreciated the extra local experiences and tours, I feel it was incredibly enriching to learn about the social and historical context of Kenya. The house was very comfortable and we were incredibly well looked after, from the room cleans to the large variety of delicious food cooked for us daily. The clinics and outreach gave variety to our experience, loved going to new places, meeting new people and learning new skills. Safari was well planned. The guides we had were excellent, the accommodation much more luxurious than what I was used to/expecting!A fascination with transcultural psychiatry was what initially set me on the path to want to become a psychiatrist, and an unforgettable six weeks in Kenya.All through medical school I was determined to work in......

Indescribable Experience on Personal and Professional Level

Cassandra Carey

Niagara University

Indescribable Experience on Personal and Professional Level

My experience through IMA will forever be held in my heart. The impact this has made on not only my nursing career but also on a personal level is truly indescribable. My perspective on life has totally changed and I’ve learned to view things with in broader perspective and with an open heart to all people of all cultures. Nursing requires me to be competent in many things besides just skills. Patients rely on me as their advocate, their hand to hold when no one else is there for them and someone they can trust. My time in Kenya gave me a new perspective on how to do those things and be a better nurse to my patients. The clinical experience was almost better than my experiences at home. To be able to watch how nurses and doctors improvise to deliver the same care to patients at the standard level with limited resources was interesting but most importantly their desire to want to help people and to learn new......

Internship Has Motivated Me Beyond Belief

Hannah Cantwell

Rhodes College

Internship Has Motivated Me Beyond Belief

Before my internship with International Medical Aid, I was conflicted with my future career path. Since eighth grade I had my heart set on being a pediatrician or a family practitioner, but as I grew older I developed a new interest of public health and health equity. Recently, I have been struggling with combining my two passions. As I did more research, I discovered disaster relief medicine, international medicine, or work with communities who have inequitable access to health care are possibilities. In these career paths, I can practice medicine while creating more equitable and sustainable access to quality health care. But this past summer, I started to doubt my ability to take on the challenges of medical school – as its no easy task – and I was unsure if I was cut out for long hours, intense workload, and honestly, blood.Within a couple hours of my first day in the Labor Ward, I knew I could handle blood. I remember it clearly. By 10am Monday morning there......

Internships Allowed Me to Develop a Deeper Appreciation for Medicine

Ivy Klabunde

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Internships Allowed Me to Develop a Deeper Appreciation for Medicine

Boarding my flight for Kenya, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I would be in a hospital rotating through different specialties and volunteering during the week. I chose to observe a variety of specialties in order to expose myself to a variety of cases within the hospital. I also knew that I would get out of my experience what I put in. I went into this trip with an open mind and willingness to learn. I wanted to take this as an opportunity to motivate me in my academic career moving forward. I knew that I wanted to go to school to become a physician assistant, but I wanted to begin my exposure to medicine in an environment that is completely different from the United States. In doing this, I would allow myself to step out of my comfort zone in order to learn the most about not only medicine in Kenya, but also the way of life there. I could then also realize how fortunate we......

Roots of Change

Emma Marchese

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Roots of Change

From an early age, I dreamt of traveling to an African region, out of my comfort zone andinto a world of contrast. I’m not entirely sure why—perhaps I was transfixed by images from commercials or something that would show up on my TV—but it had been a very conscious goal of mine. I wanted to know why others were different than me. I wanted to see how they lived. I wanted to see if they actually receive Americans with smiles, just as the United States mediaportrays when describing our effect on Africa’s poverty. Admittedly, this image of Africa is what I expected. And to a certain extent, this is actually what I saw. Thousands of kids would overwhelm me with love and joy at hygiene clinics. Orphans would cling and wail as I said goodbye after just a short visit. People would see my scrubs and would actually thank me for coming to their under-resourced, under-staffed hospital (even though I didn’t benefit them in any way). While I stood......

Blessed with This Opportunity and All Its Teachings

Cleyling Lassalle

University of South Florida

Blessed with This Opportunity and All Its Teachings

For the past three years, I have worked as a 5th grade bilingual Math/Science teacher in the southwest side of Chicago. I became a teacher through the program Teach for America, whose mission is, “enlist, develop, and mobilize as many as possible of our nation’s most promising future leaders to grow and strengthen the movement for educational equity excellence.” Although the United States of America is a developed nation, it is a country where racism still persists and is one of the main roots of a major challenge: educational inequity. Unfortunately, many children are still lacking the proper education and opportunities that can help them grow economically and academically, which then perpetuates their family’s low- income household. I have seen the ways that mismanagement of a nation’s economy can benefit some whilst hurting others. Something that I see lacking a lot in the low-income communities and their public schools, is a massive under resourcing of mental health professionals.My experience as a teacher, paired with my undergraduate degree in psychology,......

Program Taught Me So Much About Healthcare Delivery

Andrew

Davidson College

Program Taught Me So Much About Healthcare Delivery

As I look back at my stay in Kenya this summer, I am struck by the incredible knowledge and experience I was able to obtain from my peers and mentors in the hospital. From seeing a natural birth for the first time to seeing neurosurgery on a 7-year-old boy, I realize the wealth of information I was exposed to. I am so grateful for the opportunities I was given to learn more about healthcare in such a different environment. During my internship, I learned how to be empathetic, sure of myself, and how to remain calm in high-stress situations. When comparing what I saw at Coast General Hospital versus what I have experienced in hospitals here in the United States, the biggest differences that jumped out were the state of medical issues presented, and the resources available to treat said issues.The easiest way to sum up the difference between the care I saw in Kenya and the United States is that in Kenya, the majority of treatment is reactive......

Experience in Kenya Strengthened My Resolve to Pursue a Career in Healthcare

Brenn Manwaring

Brigham Young University

Experience in Kenya Strengthened My Resolve to Pursue a Career in Healthcare

The administration was amazing and very accommodating and I made life-long friends among them. There was never a moment that I was in there company that I felt unsafe or frightened. The residence was great and despite the lack of infrastructure of the nation everything worked to the extent that I could feel sanitary and relaxed. The food and the kitchen staff were great. The way to really make it an amazing experience though was to put yourself out there and make as many friends as you possibly could. I am glad to know that I now have friends from all over the world. I loved the experience and found a new love for Kenya and its people that I never thought I would have.During my time in Kenya, I learned so much about how politics and cultural differences affect healthcare delivery and quality. Growing up in America, I don’t often consider the cost or availability of healthcare. Resources such as technology, equipment and supplies seem readily available to......

Best Experience of My Life

Chloë Jay

Bellevue College/Redmond Care and Rehabilitation Center

Best Experience of My Life

My clinical internship in Mombasa, Kenya was the best experience of my life thus far. It has been a month since I have been home in the states, and not a day has passed that I have not dreamed of the people, culture, hospital wards, and the incredibly vibrant spirit that is Kenya. My whole family did not want me to come; they were afraid for my wellbeing. After fundraising the cost of my trip, they couldn’t have been happier when I assured them of my safety at the residence in Kenya. The entire staff went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and at home during our stay. The hospitality and cooking were unlike any I’d ever had – we were so welcomed and loved. I learned more than I ever thought I would during my internship and rotations in the hospital. I spent every day with my jaw to the floor, in complete awe of my surroundings. This experience awoken my soul and changed what direction......

Internship Impacted Me in Ways I Never Expected

Katherine Chen

McMaster University

Internship Impacted Me in Ways I Never Expected

An unforgettable experience where I learned more than I have ever expected and grew to appreciate the Kenyan culture and history. Staff went above and beyond to make everyone feel at home and when accommodating requests. Residence was very clean and the food was amazing (both prepared by Chef Joshua and the restaurants we visited such as Mubins Cafe). The internship impacted me in ways I never expected. It taught me many lessons such as humbleness and appreciation and I left the country a different person for the better. I went on the Watamu Beach Safari and it was a great experience filled with adventure and education. I loved how we were able to have fun, try new foods (ex. local seafood) and learn something new such as the history behind the Portuguese Church and the Gedi Ruins. Some portions of the trip could have been longer such as when we went snorkeling and when we were able to get off the boat and into the water, but overall......

My Experience Will Guide My Future Path

Corinna M

ISGlobal/Universitat de Barcelona

My Experience Will Guide My Future Path

As I reflect on my experiences with International Medical Aid (IMA) at Coast General Hospital, I am reminded of an ancient African proverb, “seeing is different than being told”. This priceless Internship placement with IMA has shed more light onto this age-old saying. I am still in disbelief, as I reflect on my encounters with patients, healthcare members, and health systems. Some experiences were as if they were drawn straight from Global Health textbooks, while other clinical presentations were so uncommon, it baffled even the most senior of nursing staff. In the States, I have been a practicing Nurse in the perioperative environment for over six years. However, my desire to help others globally is what initially propelled me into the nursing field since Iwas a young girl. This ambition, lead me to complete my Master of Global Health in 2018. However, a deeper curiosity remained, to hopefully yet experience and expand my theoretical knowledge of Global Health and Nursing. This calling eventually lead me to Mombasa, Kenya with......

Incredible Experience with International Medical Aid

Angela

California State University of Fullerton

Incredible Experience with International Medical Aid

My experience in Kenya was incredible. In terms of interning at CPGH, I was exposed to so many cases and learning opportunities, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience. The doctors and nurses were for the most part very helpful and instructive. The tours and treks I was a part of, shaped my stay in Kenya in so many ways. I was taught so much on the culture, food, traditions, current setbacks, etc. The knowledge enriched my outlook on the country I was staying in for over a month. Being able to go on the safari and experience the Lion King in real life was indescribable. The food, attentiveness, and care that I received while staying in the residency was truly was made the trip feel like home. Every person I interacted with made sure I was happy, fed, and had clean scrubs every day. I was able to help cook a few meals for the interns and I, Joshua was incredible. I am still in awe......

Productive, Engaging, and Humbling Internship Experience

Patrick M

University of California, Los Angeles

Productive, Engaging, and Humbling Internship Experience

Prior to beginning my internship in Mombasa at Coast General Provincial Hospital, I had completed approximately 200 hours of medical volunteering in hospitals around Los Angeles, California. I had never been exposed to serious illnesses or diseases with pneumonia arguably being the most serious condition I have ever encountered. Most of the patients I had seen and interacted with simply had some sort of upper respiratory tract infection or were simply stricken with diabetes or obesity. Looking back, I could not have imagined all that I would be able to view and learn while rotating through the different departments at CPGH. During the internship, I was happily placed into the Pre-PA Program where I hoped to gather knowledge and shadowing experience from Clinical Officers which are the equivalents of PAs in Kenya.As for the unique and remarkably memorable cases I had the privilege of viewing firsthand, there was certainly no shortage of them. My very first case was of a two-year-old boy who was suffering from Ricketts. I had......

Entirely Different and Remarkable Experience

Carly Wiltshire

Registered Nurse, Convalescent Home of Winnipeg

Entirely Different and Remarkable Experience

The experience I had with IMA was entirely different than any health care or outreach experience I have had previously. Outside of hospital placements, it was wonderful getting to know the other participants on the program while learning about the culture of Mombasa, Kenya. The program mentors were phenomenal- extremely supportive and accommodated to my exact interests. They went out of their way to ensure I was having a good experience and had the opportunity to do everything I wanted to. The accommodations were very nice and in a very safe neighbourhood and we had incredible meals prepared by the resident chef. Regarding hospital placements, the experience is what you make of it. You need to be ready to dive in, be proactive, and build relationships. I underestimated how challenging the hospital placement would be, in terms of how mentally and emotionally draining it was. There are things I saw and experienced in the hospital that have made a permanent mark in my mind. I gained valuable insight into......

Experience Validated My Desire to Pursue Medicine

Abinaa Chandrakumar

University of Toronto

Experience Validated My Desire to Pursue Medicine

As this was my first trip alone, I was a little scared of what I might encounter in Kenya. However upon landing, Benson and Brian were very sweet and I felt already secure. When I approached the resident I felt safe to know that there was a security guard at all time and there were also cameras outside the door. The resident was clean and comfortable. Naomi and Joshua were amazing. They were super sweet and accommodating to whatever I needed. They’re energy and continuous smile was pleasant to see in the morning. Benson was very accommodating when it came to seeing the city and always asking for feedback, which I really liked! The program was very organized. The time table helped to know what and where I should be at all times. There were a lot of rotations and so I was able to get my first pick. The mentors at the hospital were very helpful and asked a lot of questions. I found this experience to be......

IMA’s program is the best decision I ever made

Cassidy Welsh

Memorial University of Newfoundland

IMA’s program is the best decision I ever made

This program is the best decision I ever made. The program mentors in Kenya helped me from the minute I got accepted to the moment I left. They were very approachable and friendly. I always felt safe during my stay in Kenya. The mentors go out of their way to ensure the safety of the interns. They provided us with tips that would further ensure out safety while they were not around. The accommodations were much better than I had anticipated. Our rooms were cleaned every day and we stayed in a very nice neighbourhood. The food never disappointed. All of the interns looked forwards to meals as it was always something yummy. This program had a huge impact on me. I have learned so much about Kenyan culture and was able to see and learn a lot. I was able strongly notice the differences between Kenya and North America. With the help of hygiene and medical clinics as well as other outreach activities, I hope I made some......