A Unique Program and Incredible Experience

This program provided me with many unique opportunities and an incredible experience overall. The people in Kenya were extremely kind and accepting, and the children absolutely stole my heart. Every day was filled with beautiful scenery and Kenyan cuisine that I still daydream about–including chipati. Visiting the local communities during the medical or hygiene clinics was a blessing to me even more than it was to them. Seeing the different living situations for the lives of all these joyous people showed me just how unimportant and unnecessary that material things are! I hope that I can bring this new perspective to the many future teams/schools/jobs that I will be a part of in the years to come. I certainly can’t wait to go back to Kenya when I am certified and skilled enough to make a medical impact at their hospitals and in the community! The Masai Mara safari was a once in a lifetime experience. It was incredible to see these majestic animals in their domain! Our driver that we were placed with was humorous, kind, and got us some incredible shots. I will never forget this adventure! My internship with International Medical Aid allowed me to be a part of unique cultural situations that can only be experienced in Africa, exposed me to medical conditions that are rare in the Unites States, and taught me more about myself in one month than I thought possible. I now see the world through a different perspective in various situations and am better off for it. My experience, combined with my newfound knowledge, will also enhance my ability to inspire teams I am a part of in the future, and allow me to convey ideas or concerns sparked by this experience abroad. Healthcare delivery in Kenya is different from the United… Read More “A Unique Program and Incredible Experience”

Ann Hollas
Stephen F. Austin State University

I Learned More Than I Could Have Ever Asked For

Growing up there, my parents allowed me to live a life of great privilege that included going to an international school to learn English, moving abroad as an exchange student for a year and lots of travelling throughout Europe, Africa, and America. Especially, the family trips throughout Africa had a great affect on my personality and upbringing and thus I decided to apply to International Medical Aid in Kenya after working in hospitals in Germany for a year now and attaining my EMT license. Getting accepted into the IMA pre-med program was a great honor and throughout my 6 weeks in the program I learned more than I could have ever asked for. At Coast Provincial General Hospital (CPGH), I started out in the New Born Unit (NBU) with Dr. Juthy. She took me under her wing and I felt sorry for bothering her with my million questions about the different clinical pictures: which diseases were very common, which were rarer, how they tested for the diseases and the treatment plans. I also asked many questions about the Kenyan healthcare system and Dr. Juthy always took her time in answering my questions thoroughly. She also helped me draw comparisons to Germany as she has worked in Germany as a Doctor for some time doing an internship and so we could draw parallels between the two healthcare systems together. One day for example, there was a highly septic new born, that had been transferred to CPGH from a different clinic, which needed to be ventilated as it could not breathe on its own. So, for my whole shift I ventilated the new born by hand as there was no ventilator available, this is the first time I encountered the magnitude of the lack of resources. Following the NBU, I rotated in… Read More “I Learned More Than I Could Have Ever Asked For”

Anna
NAW Berlin

By Far One of the Greatest Experiences of My Life

Participating in the IMA pre-medical internship has been a life changing experience for me. The program mentors, resident chef, and local support staff were always helpful and accommodated any need that I had. Working in the hospital definitely tested me in ways that I never imagined. I saw a lot, and I experienced a lot. Most of all, I learned a lot. Every doctor that I came in contact with was more than willing to teach me and allow me to interact with patients. Riding to Coast Provincial for my first day of rotations, I did not know what to expect. I was filled with feelings of anxiety and joy; I was about to embark on a once in a lifetime experience. As I made my way to the gynecology ward, many thoughts rushed through my head. What would I see? What would my mentor doctor think of me? I was greeted by the warm embrace of Dr. Rehema, and I knew that everything was going to be alright. My time spent at Coast General taught me so much. Not only did I learn about medicine, but I learned about myself. With each patient I saw in the hospital, I gleaned medical knowledge and learned about not only my humanity, but the humanity of the people around me. During my internship, I spent a large portion of my time in the wards dealing with women and children. In each of those wards, despite seeing women laboring, children in agony, and innocent newborns fighting for their lives, there was so much beauty and strength to be found. One of the first things you notice going being in the wards is the immense strength of the women; not just the strength of women in labor, or the mothers watching their children fight… Read More “By Far One of the Greatest Experiences of My Life”

Asia Williams
Prairie View A&M University

Entirely Different Than Any Healthcare or Outreach 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 neighborhood 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 how cultural differences impact health care, being aware of the way things are done differently due to either cultural differences or systemic differences. In many ways my mind grew, my heart expanded, and my heart broke. I am incredibly grateful to have had this experience, and I know it will stay with me. I am confident that this experience will forever change the person that I am and the nurse that I am. I went on the Masai Mara Safari and it was incredible. It was definitely worth the cost to do it. If you are going to Africa, it is something you need to do while you are there. My group had an amazing driver who educated us on all the animals we saw. We got right up close to… Read More “Entirely Different Than Any Healthcare or Outreach Experience”

Caralyn Wiltshire
Registered Nurse, Convalescent Home of Winnipeg

This 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 neighborhood. 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 impact on the communities we visited, they certainly made an impact on me. I believe the most valuable aspect was the interactions we had with the children at schools and within the communities. performing the hygiene clinics and medical clinics really opened up my eyes to what some of these kids are exposed to. Despite the exposure I faced at the hospital, being involved within a community was slightly more valuable for me. The safari was a huge highlight on my trip. It was worth every penny that was spent. The lodge we stayed in was beautiful. The food was great and our safari driver was hilarious. No improvements here. Going into this pre-dental internship with International Medical Aid, I didn’t know what to expect. Traveling to a foreign country alone… Read More “This Program is The Best Decision I Ever Made”

Cassidy Welsh
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Very Positive and Memorable Experience

My experience with IMA was both very positive and memorable in the entire four months I interned as a practitioner. I found the support of both Bella and Phares to be on point in that they were always available to address any questions and/or concerns I had – as well as proactively followed-up each and every time. Bella and Phares are very approachable and friendly individuals. 

 My placement at the GBVRC at CPGH was definitely a highlight of my time in Mombasa, Kenya. As a Counsellor early in my vocation, I was able to both learn and practice even more so about trauma counselling, and how it applies to survivors of defilement and rape. I was provided with thorough shadowing and training for some weeks before I commenced counselling independently. In this placement, I was able to help fill a void, as the centre was understaffed. By taking on primarily counselling work, in the time that I was at Gender, it allowed the clinic’s Nurse (in-charge) to focus on medical exams, as she used to do both counselling and medical exams. I found the staff, Saida and Mary, very welcoming, accommodating, caring, and helpful at all times. 

 Throughout my time with IMA, I always felt safe, whether at the residence, on the road, in the hospital, or elsewhere. I felt that IMA made safety a priority and we were briefed at the start of our internships about local safety and so on. By having Javan always drop us off and pick us up from the hospital was especially helpful. Javan was always very careful when driving us from place to place and his friendly persona was always appreciated. The guards at the residence too were always very helpful and caring towards us too. 

 The residence was very… Read More “Very Positive and Memorable Experience”

Catherine Tran
Australian Catholic University/ On the Line Australia

One of The Most Incredible Experiences of My Life and the Masai Mara Safari was Amazing

Many months ago, before arriving in Mombasa, Kenya, I made both the best and hardest decision of my entire life. The internship through International Medical Aid was the perfect fit and one of the first steps along my journey of becoming a surgeon. I made the choice to independently coordinate, plan and pay for this experience myself. I clocked in extra hours at my work and acquired various side jobs to save enough money to be comfortable with each amount. Not only was I still in Massachusetts, but the internship was already teaching me responsibility and a sense of maturity that I will forever be grateful for. Once I arrived in Mombasa, the reception and the atmosphere of the program was something I have never experienced before. Right from the first minutes of arriving in Africa, Javan, who I became quite close with, had one of the best personalities I have ever seen; and from that moment on, I knew that I was meant to be there. As for the program directors, Phares and Bella, not enough great things can be said for both individuals. Their warm welcome and tireless work to accommodate all interns both in the hospital and outside the hospital was absolutely amazing. With my time in the hospital I was able to shadow and learn from many amazing doctors that work at Coast General Provincial Hospital. It was amazing to see the environment in which these professionals were able to work and the attitudes they carried to work; knowing very well that the environment was less than standard. The amazing part in which I learned the most can be categorized into one word: Innovation. To me, memorizing information is the easy part. Anyone is able to memorize a ton of words and definitions, whether it be… Read More “One of The Most Incredible Experiences of My Life and the Masai Mara Safari was Amazing”

Dylan Sheedy
Stonehill College

My Experience with International Medical Aid

Having recently graduated from a Master’s degree in Biology, I felt disenchanted by the experience of working in a research lab. To this end, I looked toward the more dynamic, high-pressure working environment of the hospital. I am fortunate enough to have been born in the UK, where I currently live, which means the National Health Service (NHS) is available to care for me if I fall ill. No questions asked and no bills to pay. The public-funded NHS will provide healthcare to all British citizens without discrimination. I applied for an internship with International Medical Aid (IMA) for two reasons; one, to further my understanding of healthcare in a system which is not paid for by the government; and two, to develop my skills working in complex, high pressure environments. This essay will explore the extent to which these objectives were met during my internship. Upon arrival in at Mombasa, Kenya, I was warmly greeted by Bella and Javan and instantly put at ease. They then took me to the villa I was to stay in, where Chef Wilson prepared a delicious breakfast for me. Rehema, the housekeeper, had a very comfortable room prepared for me. The welcoming nature of Kenyan culture was heart-warming and provided stark contrast to the lukewarm personalities found in British society. I was allowed the opportunity to rest for the first day before beginning my rotations at Coast General Provincial Hospital (CPGH). When Phares escorted me through the hospital for my first day on placement in the Internal Medicine ward, my first impressions of the hospital were mixed. It threw me to see patients left exposed on balconies or kept in close proximity to other patients with contagious diseases, especially if they had open wounds susceptible to infection, without barriers to inhibit contamination. Further… Read More “My Experience with International Medical Aid”

Joshua Herrington
University of York

Experience of a Lifetime with International Medical Aid in Africa

IMA has provided me with an experience that will stay with me for a lifetime. In the last three weeks, I have met physicians and hospital staff that have taken their time to teach me and my peers. In the US, it is incredibly difficult to obtain clinical exposure and experience, but the doctors and staff at CPGH welcome you with open arms and truly want you learn from their lessons. Although Kenya is a third world country and lacking proper medical resources, there is so much modern medicine in the states and abroad can learn from their practices. Apart from the hospital, the living conditions and IMA staff were wonderful. They care about each intern and strive to make their experience as perfect as possible. The food cooked by Wilson and Paul was amazing. The chefs introduced me to authentic Swahili cuisine, and I was never disappointed. The house keeping staff was kind, always keeping the IMA villas clean and tidy. The drivers and security were always so nice and managed to make me feel safe, whether we were at the villas or exploring the sites around Mombasa. Bella and Phares were my right hand me, as they were always there for me and the other interns, making our stay the best it could possibly be. Some of my favorite memories that I will take back with me were the community outreach clinics. Being able to interact with Kenya’s youth has a major impact on me, and I hope the feelings are reciprocated. Educating children on proper hygiene is so important, and I’m glad IMA encouraged us to get involved in the community outside the hospital. This program has introduced me to a myriad of people and taught me so much. I am beyond grateful for the experience this… Read More “Experience of a Lifetime with International Medical Aid in Africa”

Elsa Ross
University of Oregon

Beyond Impressed by the Levels International Medical Aid Would Take to Ensure We Would Have the Best Program Possible

My mental health placement with International Medical Aid taught me so much about not just mental health and the mental health system in Kenya, but also about myself. I completed my placement at Port Reitz Mental Health and Substance Abuse Unit and I only wish I would have had longer. Port Reitz taught me strength by surviving and adapting to minimal standards of working conditions due to lack of funding. The undying support by the staff was above impressive considering the limited resources they have. Additionally, the stigmatization around mental health in Kenya was at the forefront of challenges experienced by staff and patients alike. It is very confronting to accept that for so many families they are related to ‘crazy people who have lost their mind’ to quote many family members directly. I have a deepened interest in creating awareness of mental health and mental illness in Kenya and other African or third world countries who deserve to be educated on the need for mental health facilities but also in order for them to understand their own family and community members who have been struck with mental illness. This is how I would like to shape my career, working in these respective countries to help combat the stigmatization surrounding mental illness, and Port Reitz has definitely helped me understand the need for this and the way that the families need to be educated. My first day was difficult and heavily confronting, especially seeing men in blue and white striped clothing in the isolation unit. The prison like structure at Port Reitz is a very difficult environment for staff to confidently and efficiently assist in the patient’s recovery. My second day created a change in me, when a young patient was walking beside me saying ‘don’t be scared.’ It was… Read More “Beyond Impressed by the Levels International Medical Aid Would Take to Ensure We Would Have the Best Program Possible”

Naomi Brooks
Monash University

Placement Was So Impactful On My Education and Future Role in Medicine

My time here in Kenya was incredible. The residence allowed for us to truly get to know the other interns and spend time together. The location of the residence was great in terms of activities for us to engage in outside of the hospital. Safety was no question, and if there were ever any red flags we know that we could reach out to Bella or Phares. The food is fantastic and I cannot wait to make chapati when I return to the US! My placement in CPGH was so impactful on my education and future role in medicine. The mentors were so willing to teach and not only about medicine, but also about life in Kenya as a physician. The outreach events for the community is something that will never leave me, from the welcoming songs to simply filling up containers with medicine to disperse – it all made such an impact on me and bettering my understanding of global health care. Kenya truly is a beautiful place with even more beautiful people, that thankfully I got to know well! The most valuable experience to me would be to understand what it is like to work with minimal supplies. In the US, we tend to overuse supplies and make healthcare expensive do to all the resources we use. Here in Kenya, the lack of supplies has really taught me to think on my feet and be able to truly assess the patient and understand what is needed rather than what it done to prevent litigation in the US. America is viewed, as I came to understand from my time in Kenya, as the land of milk and honey. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Westernized medicine is costly and there tends to be more discussion of litigation than holistic… Read More “Placement Was So Impactful On My Education and Future Role in Medicine”

Emily Pilgrim
University of South Carolina

So Grateful for All the Things I Learned From My Doctors Both About Medicine and About Healthcare in Developing Countries

I loved my experience in Kenya so much. I never once felt unsafe from the moment I was picked up at airport. The food and overall accommodations exceeded my expectations greatly and I had no problems with the accommodations or food. My experience in Kenya had such a profound impact on me because I was able to learn so much about another health care system and I was able to get hands on experience with cases that aren’t common in the US. I kept a notebook with me every day in the hospital and everyday it would be filled with notes from the doctors I was shadowing. The doctors in Kenya are so intelligent and the language barrier isn’t difficult to overcome. I am so grateful for all the things I learned from my doctors both about medicine and about health care in developing countries. The most valuable aspect of this program is that you are able to do everything that the doctor does with the patients. You are able to go through the whole diagnostic process with the doctors and they will explain to you their thinking and ask you questions along the way. The doctors in the hospital are so creative and smart, and it is amazing to be able to get close to so many different doctors in all different departments. You are able to see cases that you would never see in the US and people often come into the hospital with multiple things wrong, which makes the diagnostic process more difficult. Being in the hospital really tests you and can really help you grow as a person and a professional in the medical field. The safari was amazing overall. I really liked the accommodations in Nairobi and the Mara Sopa Hotel. I don’t have any… Read More “So Grateful for All the Things I Learned From My Doctors Both About Medicine and About Healthcare in Developing Countries”

Hannah Pedersen
Concordia St.Paul

Most Challenging Yet Rewarding Experience I Have Ever Done

This internship has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience I have ever done. Due to the lack of some resources, it made it difficult for me to observe some patient cases. I have learned and seen more at CPGH than I would have ever thought was possible. Both Bella and Phares did everything in their power to make accommodations for me whether it was at the hospital or in Mombasa. In Kenya I never really felt unsafe. I was always in a group of people and never ventured out late at night. These three weeks have made me both mentally and emotionally stronger and will definitely guide me to be a better physician in the future. In my opinion the most valuable aspect of this program were the people at the hospital whether it was interns, residents, or even nurses; all of them wanted you to learn. Obviously, there was a language barrier so while they were doing rounds once they were done conversing with the patient they would explain what was going on in English. Or in surgery the lead surgeon would explain the anatomy, the precise steps he/she was doing, and why it was important. When looking at CT scans interns would explain the disease and show us where it was located on the x-ray. The little things that the staff at CPGH did to accommodate me made me have a better understanding of the medical field. Coming to Kenya to work at Coast General I knew there was going to be a lack of resources compared to what I had been used to seeing in the United States. Because of this the doctors had to rely on their clinical experience to diagnose their patients. During the hospital orientation, Dr. Aarif, who was in internal medicine at… Read More “Most Challenging Yet Rewarding Experience I Have Ever Done”

Katherine Duffy
University of South Carolina

Truly Incredible, and Has Definitely Both Solidified, and Encouraged My Interest in Medicine

This trip to Kenya was truly incredible, and has definitely both solidified, and encouraged my interest in medicine! I made some really meaningful relationships with doctors, nurses, and technicians at the hospital who took the time to teach me and engage me in their work. The mentorship I received at CPGH allowed me to not only learn how to do technical and hands-on tasks, but also how to be a confident and compassionate person in healthcare. As each day passed, I learned how to take advantage of my time here more and more, and play an active role in helping the staff as well as the patients! It took time before I was able to fully immerse myself in the hands-on experience, but when I did, I felt like I really found what I want to dedicate the rest of my life to! I learned so much in such a short amount of time, and got to see a lot of different perspectives and ways of thinking that I think other countries could really learn from! After working in the hospital, we would always come home to a lovely house, a very supportive staff, and amazing food! IMA really made sure we were well taken care of, and kept safe! IMA also gave us many opportunities to explore Mombasa, and see a way of life that is rich in spirits. Kenya has left a big mark on my heart and mind, and I am already thinking of when I can come back! The most valuable aspect of this program is the relationships you can and will make, both with fellow interns and the hospital staff. I have never formed such close bonds with fellow humans in such a short amount of time! In this program, you meet very like-minded people,… Read More “Truly Incredible, and Has Definitely Both Solidified, and Encouraged My Interest in Medicine”

Katie Fairhurst
University of Pittsburgh

To work in healthcare is to have a good heart, but succeeding in the field requires a strong heart.

My Medical Officer (MO) and good friend Abdalla shared his philosophy with me after witnessing my heart twinge with pain alongside the 14-year-old girl sprawled across the ER table. His ideal has ingrained inside me and transcends all injustices I see— at CPGH, in child detainment alongside our southern border, in racial and gender inequity in the workplace, in the homeless shelter across the street from the Starbucks I frequent. But in that dusty corner of the CPGH ER, I understood the difference between witnessing injustice as a passive bystander and taking control of said injustice to learn from and better the debilitated victims. For most of my IMA peers, this call of responsibility transcended into a pursuit towards medical school. Me, I diverged. I entered IMA with an open soul and an undecided scholarship beneath the healthcare inequity umbrella. With an inclination to study infectious disease and global health inequity, I requested to learn in the CCC (comprehensive care unit) unit for the entirety of my stay, all while taking afternoon shifts in the ER, maternity ward, and NBU to enrich my studies. I soon came to the unsettling realization that hands-on patient care would not be my field of pursuit—I wanted something more, to upscale my actions, to treat populations rather than individuals, to be bigger, to do better. My call to action stemmed from observations of systematic injustice entrenched upon CPGH and accepted by the masses. A lack of a ventilator in the NBU ended the life of a newborn baby. Unwashed materials between patient rotations in the ER left many susceptible to infection. A lack of nutritional supplements in the CCC denied an HIV patient from increasing her BMI to a healthy level. These small pieces of the CPGH puzzle not only identify the many broken… Read More “To work in healthcare is to have a good heart, but succeeding in the field requires a strong heart.”

Lauren Cueto
Yale University

My Trip to Kenya

This year, I decided to challenge myself and push my clinical knowledge to its boundaries by working in an unfamiliar country with a different health-care experience than my country Qatar. I wanted to go somewhere that possessed little technological resources. Although some people may aim for more well-developed locations, I believe that learning starts from the patient’s bedside, by seeing, feeling, and listening. In my opinion, the lack of resources, tools, or laboratory and radiological tests challenge the doctors to use and rely on their own brains and to think in creative ways—something I do not often see in my country due to its wide availability of advanced technology, which can quickly give a definitive diagnosis. Because the future is difficult to predict, I decided to pursue this experience to prepare myself for all difficult circumstances. Fortunately, I found this program offered by the International Medical Aid at the Coast Provincial General Hospital. On the first of July, I arrived in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It was a difficult day. At the airport, I struggled to get my bags to another building, where I had to go check in my bags for my next flight to Mombasa. My bags weighed a total of 60 kg, and they fell from the trolley twice. At that time, I was already sweating heavily from the pressure of making it to my other flight on time. During those moments, I remembered my father’s advice to exercise in preparation for this trip, as things here are not as developed and comfortable as in Qatar. This was my first lesson from this trip; I needed to get stronger and healthier to be able to serve people as a health-care provider. When I first arrived at the CPGH, I noticed that the building looked old and… Read More “My Trip to Kenya”

Mohammed Aljaber
Qatar University School of Medicine

Rotations at Port Reitz Psychiatric Hospital and The Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre

During my summer in Kenya, I worked through challenging cases with incredibly resourceful and intelligent providers at Port Reitz Psychiatric Hospital and The Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre. The standard of care was often unavailable due to financial constraints, but it took just as much mastery of medicine to provide valuable alternative therapeutic plans. The clinics were short staffed, compelling me to work to the limit of my medical knowledge in order to contribute meaningfully to the team. Working with these dedicated providers helped me appreciate the integral roles that creativity and critical thinking play in medicine. This was particularly evident in the case of a patient who was having a psychotic episode. This patient was exhibiting violent and bizarre behavior; he was completely non- functional and required 24-hour supervision. He was strong and lunging at providers during his entire exam. His four friends who brought him in had to hold him down the whole time. Socioeconomic factors complicated his care. It was very clear that he needed to be admitted, but he could not afford it. I had to figure out how to do inpatient management as an outpatient on someone who was very unstable. I prescribed him every injectable antipsychotic and benzodiazepine we had, but knew this would only be a short term solution. What would happen when he was home and they wore off? I also prescribed oral antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and benzodiazepines and instructed his friends to give him this medicine while he was still calm from the injectable medications but not fully sedated in order to prevent aspiration. I may have treated him less aggressively if he was inpatient and being monitored, but keeping him calm while out in the community was a priority. I also had to think about the safety of the patient… Read More “Rotations at Port Reitz Psychiatric Hospital and The Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre”

Sahar Jahed
Johns Hopkins University

Incredible Experience With Deeply Caring Staff

My month in Mombasa, getting to work alongside so many other brilliant and encouraging inters, was truly an experience of a lifetime and was only made possible through the incredible love and support of the staff. The way they cared so deeply about every intern who walked through the front door, ensuring safety, proper hospital placements that matched each interns desires and needs, and being of major help in situations big and small, truly reflects their outstanding desire to make this a unique and memorable trip for all. From the food to the hospital, and the medical clinics to the beach and everything in between, allowed for one of the greatest months of my life. Leaving more full of growth in both my knowledge of medicine and culture, I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. The most valuable aspect of this program was having the opportunity to rotate through multiple wards in the hospital. Before arriving, I never thought I’d even have an interest in orthopedics or in A&E. Yet after my week in each of those departments, I gained a new appreciation, love, and respect for both specialties, giving me the desire to keep all my options opened as I move on to the next stages in my desire to become a physician. My safari experience was out of this world. I never thought I’d be able to say that I had completed an African safari. Truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish forever. Masai Mara was beyond beautiful and our driver was very engaging, allowing for the best possible time. During my time in Mombasa, Kenya, I’ve lived more life, gained more knowledge and experienced more medicine than I ever thought possible when initially embarking on this adventure. Through my month at Coast… Read More “Incredible Experience With Deeply Caring Staff”

Scott Mayo
University of Texas at Austin

My Experience with IMA was Rewarding, Impactful and Life Changing in Many Ways

As a pre-Physical Therapy intern, I was one of the first interns to ever come to work in the Therapy Department; therefore, it was a new experience both for me, and the therapists that I worked with. Everyone was very open and excited to teach me everything from their treatment methods to their favorite foods. The amount I learned from each therapist in the department, whether I personally shadowed them or not, is immeasurable. On top of the success I had in my department, the relationships that I made with the other IMA interns was something that made my experience even more amazing. Sharing stories from our days in the hospital, having tough conversations concerning things that we saw, and exploring Kenya together is something that I will always cherish. Altogether, my experience with IMA was rewarding, impactful and life changing in many ways. Upon my arrival in Mombasa, Kenya, I was completely unaware of the impact that the International Medical Aid internship program would have on me as an individual, and further, an aspiring Physical Therapist. The culture in Kenya was overwhelming, in the best sense. It completely engulfed me and allowed me to explore the ins and outs of a foreign culture and healthcare system. My experience through this internship program provided me the opportunity to break down various barriers, allowing my perspectives and attitudes towards everyday situations to be transformed. Mombasa, being one of the two cities in Kenya that has major hospitals, has a public teaching hospital called Coast General Provincial Hospital. It is here where my internship began, and where I was able to learn from multiple different therapists to broaden my knowledge on Physical Therapy and foreign healthcare systems. My experience at Coast General, located in an area of extreme impoverishment, provided me with… Read More “My Experience with IMA was Rewarding, Impactful and Life Changing in Many Ways”

Suzan Raines
University of Mississippi

Incredibly Valuable and Immersive Experience

“More than any information learnt (which can be forgotten)… it’s better the experience impacts your thoughts, whether it’s [learning to be] more careful of the resources you do have or just being able to empathize better – that, I think is more difficult for people to learn”. This statement was written to me from Dr. Jhuthi, a medical officer I had the privilege of shadowing in Coast Provincial General Hospital’s New Born Unit, and it beautifully captures how I feel my internship with Internal Medical Aid has impacted me. To elaborate, although I had anticipated learning medical terminology or procedural guidelines during my time in Kenya, I actually gained insight into my character and who I am more than anything else during the trip. More specifically, my experience with IMA has taught me how to be more open – open to new career avenues, open to learning the context of situations before judging, and open to listening to perspectives that are different from my own. Being a person who is not used to stepping outside her comfort zone, this lesson was incredibly valuable for me because it helped me to truly understand what it means to work in healthcare. I have never really considered becoming a therapist, counsellor, or psychiatrist. Before my internship with International Medical Aid, I did not even have a desire to set foot in a psychiatric ward. Yet, during my final few weeks in Mombasa, I found myself requesting to shadow at Port Reitz mental hospital, engaging in exciting conversations with my psychiatric resident roommate, and enrolling myself in a psychopharmacology class for when I returned back to school in Canada. Needless to say, I became fascinated with the fields of psychology and psychiatry during this internship. There were many experiences in and out of the… Read More “Incredibly Valuable and Immersive Experience”

Susanna Lee
Ryerson University

Very Unforgettable Experience

Every aspect of the program can only be spoken highly of. The trip exceeded my expectations and there was no part of it I would change. Being an intern at IMA was a very amazing experience and it is something I will definitely recommend to others. The ability to shadow in such a different atmosphere from what you are used to is very rewarding. Not only were the experiences inside the hospital enjoyable, but outside of it as well. Getting to bond with the other interns was also an awesome aspect of the trip. Overall the IMA internship was a very unforgettable experience and if I can do it again in the future I will in a heartbeat.

Tessa D
Montclair State University