November 4, 2015 2:18 PM

Meet the Interns: Matt and Will

Written by Rosali Vela

Two more interns joined our communications team this season:

supporters mattName: Matthew Schueller
Hometown: Albany Oregon
School: Seattle Pacific University

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: There was a chapter at my university and one of my close friends was the leader of that chapter. I wasn’t able to go on their trip to Perú, but I worked closely with the chapter and heard a lot of great things about what MEDLIFE was doing in South America. It got me interested, so after college when I was looking at internships in photography and videography, many of my friends recommended that I look more into MEDLIFE.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Born and raised in the Pacific North West, I went to school in Seattle to study physiology. I also minored in New Media Studio Art. I am passionate about capturing art through photography and videography, and sharing these important messages through the internet. In 2007, I created a YouTube channel to share my work. What started out as a fun hobby, quickly became my career. After graduating, I moved to Nebraska. I then worked as a barista for a while until I could manage as a full-time YouTuber. I hope to continue my work as a creator to one day work in the fields of photography, videography, media and global development.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: Many of my friends were involved in studying global poverty in college. It peaked my interest, and after taking some classes, I felt compelled to do something. After graduating, I was unsure about applying to medical school, so I decided that I would chase this urge to work in global development. I decided to become an intern because I learned about the injustices that millions of people are living with here, and I felt that I could help tell the story through my social media platforms and recruit more help.

What are your goals for this internship?: My goal for this internship is primarily to learn. I want to learn how I can use my skills and abilities to aid in the development of impoverished regions. I hope to capture the right images that accurately portray the situation here. It is also my goal to become better at Spanish and grow in my ability to live internationally.

What was your first impression of Lima?: I was surprised when I first entered Lima. I had this perception that Lima was a very tropical location, and somehow it would be extremely sunny for the most part. I arrived in the South American winter, and it was actually fairly cold and cloudy. Besides the unexpected climate and landscape, I was immediately taken aback by the division of the wealthy from the impoverished here. Some parts of Lima remind me of wealthy parts of the United States, with large glass buildings, business people and many beautiful parks. Other parts of Lima have piles of trash burning on the streets, small muddy homes made of plywood, and no access to clean water. There are large walls that divide some of these impoverished regions from the most wealthy parts of Lima just a mile away. It is insane to think about the division here, and in such close proximity!

2015 william arce

Name: William J. Arce Mantila
Hometown: Isabela, PR
School: Inter-American University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: Habia escuchado acerca de la organización a través de un amigo que había participado en una Clínica Móvil. Una ves me traslado a la Universidad a la que asisto actualmente, el capitulo de MEDLIFE acababa de abrir, por lo que decidí unirme inmediatamente formando parte del equipo de trabajo. Durante el periodo de diez meses ayude en la creación y planificación de recaudaciones de fondos, actividades de impacto universitario y servicio comunitario.

I heard about the organization through a friend that attended a Mobile Clinic. Once I transferred to the university I currently attend, I found that the chapter had recently opened. Therefore, I joined them immediately as an executive board member. During a period of ten months I contributed to the planning and creation of fundraisers, college activities for members and community service.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Actualmente curso mi cuarto año de universidad donde estudio un Bachillerato en Administración de Empresas con concentración en Mercadeo. Me gusta trabajar en áreas relacionadas al ámbito agrícola al igual que con servicio comunitario. Por años he formado parte de la Organización Nacional FFA quien ha sido clave de éxito para cada una de las oportunidades que se me han presentado. Por otra parte me gusta la música country, la pizza, viajar, y visitar diferentes lugares.

I am a senior in college pursuing a Bachelor´s of Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. I like working with areas related to the agricultural field and community service. For years I’ve been a member of the National FFA Organization, who has been a key to my success in most of the opportunities I have had. On the other hand I like country music, pizza, traveling and visiting different places.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: Luego de haber aprendido mucho a cerca de la organización y haber aportado en mi capitulo, entendía que debía ampliar un poco mas el conocimiento y llevarlo a un nivel mas alto de practica. Es por ello que como parte de mi formación académica, entendía que participando en este Internado podía expandir mis conocimientos y a la vez aportar con los mismos en un lugar donde la necesidad es la orden del día. Ahí comencé a buscar información a cerca de los programas que ofrecía la organización y encontré el programa y la oportunidad perfecta.

After learning about the organization and supporting my chapter, I thought I needed to amplify my knowledge and take them to a whole new level of practice. That´s why as part of my academic experience, I understood that participating in this internship was going to help me expand my knowledge and at the same time contribute in a place where there is alot of need. I began to search for information regarding the programs the organization offers, and I found the perfect opportunity.

What are your goals for this internship? Durante el periodo de tiempo que estaré en Lima, planifico aprender de cada área de la cual se compone MEDLIFE. Planifico contribuir a la labor de nuestra misión y espero cumplir con todas las tareas que se me sean asignadas y sobre cumplir las expectativas siempre teniendo en mente el propósito de porque estoy aquí.

During the period of time that I will be in Lima, I plan to learn about all areas of MEDLIFE's work. I also plan to contribute to the labor of our mission and I hope to accomplish every assigned task and go above and beyond that, having always in mind the purpose of why I´m here.

What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima me parece un lugar enorme comparado con sitios anteriores que he visitado, de hecho es enorme. Sus calles son muy frecuentadas y las estructuras hacen que se vea muy bonito. Definitivamente es un lugar donde hay mucho para explorar.

Lima seems an enormous place compared to places I have visited before; actually it is enormous. The streets are very busy and the buildings make it look really nice and pretty. This is definitely a place where there’s a lot to explore.

August 25, 2015 5:06 PM

Meet the Interns Year-long 2015 Part 3

Written by Rosali Vela
2015 2 10 AnnaName: Anna Folz
Hometown: Stony Brook, NY
School: Franklin and Marshall College
Major: Public Health
How I got involved with: My school did not have a chapter, I heard about MEDLIFE through a friend who was also a yearlong intern. He spoke so highly of the work that MEDLIFE did. After I spent time on the website I soon fell in love with it and everything MEDLIFE did.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: During college I played Rugby, played viola in the orchestra and ran a social justice organization. I also continued to build on an organization that I started during my gap year, called Impuslo. The goal of The Impulso Project is to provide fuel efficient stoves to families in order to reduce the negative health effects caused by open fires and inefficient stoves for cooking and heating. With Impulso, I have spent a large amount of time organizing various trips to Guatemala and fundraising for the stoves. Aside from all of this, I love traveling and experiencing new cultures, especially through food (mainly cheese)
Why did you decide to become an intern?: Having spent time working with various organizations throughout Central and South America, I knew I wanted to continue working abroad and wanted to work in positions that had a public health lense. MEDLIFE was like the perfect fit. It is so important to me that public health organizations work directly with the local community, assisting community members and leaders in implementing programs designed to improve the health of families. MEDLIFE does exactly that. It is so awesome being able to work with an organization that works cooperatively with local communities in addressing public health issues.
What was your first impression of Lima?: I was very lost and confused at first. The city seemed so huge and I only knew how to get to the grocery store (not a bad place to know). I quickly learned that drivers are reckless and to never J-walk (for a New Yokrer, its hard not to do). The city is filled with so much color, which seems to contribute to its vibrant and exciting culture.
What are your goals for this internship?: I would love to continue developing projects that address the health issues confronting people negatively effected by the inhalation of smoke from inefficient stoves and open fires used in cooking. I hope to be able to assist in securing fuel-efficient stoves that will help in alleviating these health issues in Cusco and other areas in which MEDLIFE is working. Perhaps most importantly, during my time with MEDLIFE, I want to learn how to teach safer and cleaner ways to live without imposing on the local cultural traditions.

2015 jordan
Name: Jordan McHugh
Hometown: Setauket, NY
School: University of Michigan
Major: Cellular, Molecular Biology & Geochemi
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I had pre-med friends who were looking for something meaningful to do during spring break. Since my friend was the University of Michigan chapter’s president, we decided to accompany her on a trip.  MEDLIFE turned out to be so much more than a spring break trip for me, and I am so excited to be continuing on with this program.
Tell us a little about yourself:  I love backpacking and conquering mountains! I also love coming a new place and just walking around, discovering and learning new things.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: After my first clinic, I was inspired by MEDLIFE’s unique mission to collaborate with like-minded individuals around the country towards an idealistic goal. This internship offers me the rare opportunity to work in an inspired environment to congregate people and bring them into the heart of a growing city and repair it even more.
What was your first impression of Lima?: Crowded! I’m from New York, and I thought I understood busy. Lima has taken this understanding to a whole other level. Here we see houses gridding the mountainside as far as the eyes can see, and traffic rushing around more furiously than I ever observed in Manhattan.. 
What are your goals for this internship?: Although having a short-term impact is satisfying in itself, I want to create something lasting on a personal level. I look forward to accomplishing physical feats such as the construction of a “wa wa wasi” (daycare center); but I really hope to come back to a community where people recognize my face or know my name. That would be truly meaningful.
August 18, 2015 2:44 PM

Meet the Interns Year-long 2015 Part 2

Written by Rosali Vela
2015-2-2- NickName: Nick Bettencourt
Hometown: Topsfield, MA
School: Boston College
Major: Psychology
How I got involved with: I found MEDLIFE pretty much by complete luck. I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a video about MEDLIFE that one of my friends had put up. After watching it I was immediately interested and decided to look into how I could get involved.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a 2015 graduate of Boston College, where I spent most of my time either consumed in pre-med coursework or surrounding myself with my friends. While there, I was lucky enough to get to travel to Madrid, Spain and Morelos, Mexico, where I developed a love for global travel and service. I am pursuing a career in healthcare, and am passionate about working to help others.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I have always been interested in healthcare and medicine, but have never explored the field of global or public health. I thought this would be a good way to get an introduction to the field and see if it is something I am interested in.
What was your first impression of Lima?: Although I experienced Lima for the first time during an hour long cab ride with a driver who had no idea where he was going, I still thought Lima was a very interesting and beautiful, but sometimes confusing, city.
What are your goals for this internship?: My goal is to explore the field of global health, as well as witness and be a part of the good that MEDLIFE is doing for people in need.

Name: Leigh Ann Cohen
Hometown: Oceanside, New York
School: University of Michigan
Major: Anthropology and Medical Anthropology
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: During my sophomore year at Michigan, a close friend introduced me to MEDLIFE.  Right off the bat, I truly valued everything MEDLIFE stands for, and so, I attended MEDLIFE's first ever mobile clinic to Moshi, Tanzania.  The work being done and the friendships I formed, not only with my co-volunteers but also with the people of Moshi, left me with an immense love and respect for the MEDLIFE family.
Tell us a little about yourself: Though I have a seemingly untreatable case of wanderlust, one of my favorite things is returning home after a long trip away.  Some of my most cherished memories are of being picked up at the airport by loved ones holding a sign with my name on it.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: Throughout college, I attended two mobile clinic trips and served as my university's mobile clinic chair.  These experiences solidified my interest in pursuing a career in Public Health and a year-long internship with MEDLIFE seemed like the best way to be a part of something greater than I could have ever imagined.  I was right!
What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima is a large and busy city.  Though there are many areas that are mind-blowingly beautiful, there are also many areas that are heartbreakingly impoverished.  The reality of disparities in health and socioeconomic status are ubiquitous throughout the city's districts, which makes my time in Lima even more motivating and worthwhile. 
What are your goals for this internship?: I hope to take full advantage of everything Lima and MEDLIFE have to offer.  I want to be fully immersed in Peruvian culture, to learn more about sustainable development, and to be inspired and challenged by new people and experiences.

2015-2-5-SnehaName: Sneha Kolla
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
School: Rowan University
Major: Biology with a Spanish and Chemistry Minor
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I started the MEDLIFE chapter at my university.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: Besides being a huge Steelers fan, I enjoy traveling and everything Latin American, especially the music. I am also a very service-oriented individual with a keen interest in healthcare and social work.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I decided to be an intern because I strongly agree with MEDLIFE's mission. It is an great opportunity to serve those in need and gain a better understanding about the issues of healthcare at a more social and communal level.
What was your first impression of Lima?: I found Lima's warm and cozy climate ideal as compared to the freezing winters back home. I can smell the food every time I step out and it is always mouthwatering. For someone who has lived in the suburbs all their life, living in a city environment has always been a dream and Lima most definitely fulfills it.
What are your goals for this internship?: I hope to gain a better understanding about healthcare's role in improving the life of an individual as well as the community. Mainly I hope to do something positive for the low-income communities that MEDLIFE serves and help spread their mission to more places abroad as well as here in Lima.

2015-2-9-JessicaName: Jessica Danker
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
School: The Ohio State University
Major: Nutrition and Community Health
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I became involved with MEDLIFE through Ohio State’s chapter. Shortly after learning about MEDLIFE I attended a mobile clinic in Riobamba, Ecuador. The mobile clinic experience was what really made me want to become more involved in the program.  
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio but have always loved to travel. I spent last year in Spain teaching English where I found out that I really enjoy living abroad and everything that comes with it.  I love trying all of the new foods, exploring new cities and especially making new friends from all over the world.  When I’m not traveling you can most likely find me binge watching Netflix and/or eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I decided to become an intern because this internship combined both of my interests into one! I love traveling to new places with different cultures and I also studied community health.  I really enjoy and have seen first hand what the MEDLIFE program does for the community. I couldn’t turn down such an amazing opportunity to make such an impact on the community!
What was your first impression of Lima?: SO MUCH TRAFFIC. In Limas defense, my flight landed just before the peak of rush hour so this only made getting to the apartment that much more difficult. Living in a city this large has taken some getting used to, however, from what I have seen Lima has a ton of exciting things to offer. At first glance Lima seems too large to ever get to know but each neighborhood has something different to offer. 
What are your goals for this internship?: This internship has endless opportunities to learn about all aspects of Public Health. Working specifically with MEDprograms, I hope to gain a lot experience creating and implementing projects into the community.  While working with the community I hope to better my Spanish speaking skills as well!
August 18, 2015 8:33 AM

Meet the Interns Year-long 2015 Part 1

Written by Rosali Vela
2015-2-3-KristineName: Kristine Paiste
Hometown: Lodi, CA
School: University of California, San Diego
Major: Pharmacological Chemistry
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: In December of 2013 I decided to join a MEDLIFE mobile clinic to experience a new culture and to gain an understanding of healthcare in a developing country. However my expectations were far exceeded, and in that short amount of time I was completely immersed in all that MEDLIFE encompasses. From its inspiring efforts to help each community thrive, to the incredible stories and moments shared with the locals and volunteers, I came home with a new perspective and appreciation for life. Now two years later, I find myself again in this beautiful country ready to continue the movement and take on what's next!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I graduated from UC San Diego in 2014 and am currently taking some time off before continuing my education in the medical field. I love to travel, hike, and experience new cultures, especially the food! When adventures aren't calling my name, you can usually find me reading, writing in my journal or watching YouTube/Netflix (who doesn't?). I also love to do arts and crafts, play board/video games, and go indoor rock-climbing!
Why did you decide to become an intern?: As an undergrad I was heavily involved in Alternative Breaks @ UCSD, a student-run organization that sends individuals on service-learning trips both nationally and internationally to address a diverse range of social justice issues. Through those years my eyes were opened to new ideas, perspectives and endless possibilities of creating real positive changes to our world. I had found my passion for life-long service and becoming an advocate for change and with MEDLIFE I found middle ground. Through medicine, education, and community development it drives all my passions in one amazing organization, taking the time to really understand the communities we work with and their needs to help build a foundation to thrive. So when the opportunity came and how could I not take it?
What was your first impression of Lima?: The first time I was in Lima was in 2013, and although I am currently here for Lima's winter instead of summer, both seasons have not failed to show the liveliness of this great city. Full of culture, food, history and life, Lima has a lot to offer. Though it is Peru's capital, there are areas that are still developing and it is hard not to notice some of the effects of poverty, but I hope throughout my time here I continue to fully immerse myself in all the good and the bad, and to take every opportunity to make the most out of it.
What are your goals for this internship?: Throughout my time here I hope to broaden my perspective on global health and the culture of Peru, all while strengthening my leadership roles on a larger scale. I also hope to gain a better understanding of how a non-profit works and attain hands-on experience from healthcare professionals to create a substantial positive impact on the communities we will be working with. By engaging in MEDLIFE's unique experience, I hope to continue my passion of serving others while traveling the world, taking on new challenges and immersing myself in a place far from home.

Name: April Gulotti
Hometown: Oceanside New York
School: University of Delaware
Major: Exercise Science
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I went on my first trip sophomore year of college and when I cam back I ran for the position of President. I was elected and held that position for two years planning and coordinating more trips for University of Delaware students.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am an active person who likes to make a difference. I find my greatest fulfillment by making others smile especially those suffering. Although we live in a massive world it doesn't mean each and every act of kindness goes dismissed because that one act of kindness can give a single individual the hope that they so desperately needed. Spreading kindness, helping others, and changing the world little by little is contagious. I am a diligent, hard working, and perseverant individual that likes to see the good in everyone. One of my best friends passed away this past October who I came on my first medlife trip with. His name was Enoch and he was the brightest soul I knew in every way imaginable. Although I thought he had taught me a lot about morals and life and the world we live in while he was here with me physically; his lessons, spirit, and glow became even more profound since he has passed. I owe much of who I am to the person he has helped me become.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I wanted to become a MEDLIFE intern after going on previous trips and getting to know the past year long interns. I saw myself in many of them when I got to know the type of people they were. I felt instantly connected and I wanted to do something big. Something big to contribute to the world while still learning a lot about the foundation and logistics of what makes a successful and influential non- profit organization.
What was your first impression of Lima?: My first impression of Lima was how beautiful and modern it was. But, when i saw the reality of Lima I was disappointed and sad. I saw the wall that was being built to divide the wealthy communities from the poor and it made me feel as if I was living in a past life where I read in my textbook growing up as a student of all the cast systems and inequality and injustice in the world. It was at that moment when I learned about the wall and witnessed it myself that I knew I had to get involved in a bigger way and that way manifested its way into the medlife internship.
What are your goals for this internship?: My goals for this internship is to grow relationships with patients who have stories to tell. I want to learn Spanish so I can communicate with poor families and children so I can tell them all the things I have wanted to and have felt for so long. I want to tell them that they are important to us and that they matter in the world and that life is a beautiful gift and although there is bad in the world there is also a lot of good with a lot of wonderful people and to never give up hope as hard as it may be.

2015-2-8-CristinaName: Cristina Negrón Busquets
Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
School: Clark University
Major: Biological Sciences/Pre-Med
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: There wasn't a MEDLIFE chapter at my school so I recently found out about the organization through one of my close friends from home. She absolutely loved her mobile clinic trips and when I heard what MEDLIFE was about I applied for the internship.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am an adventurous eater who takes naps on a daily basis. I love my family and friends, as well as my dog Kaya. This is probably the hardest part about being here, but they are also my inspiration to do it.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I decided to become an intern at MEDLIFE because my goal is to pursue a medical career and to hopefully be able to help people that don't have medical resources and services readily available. I have worked with people in the United States that have intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) in the past and although the United States has great resources sometimes these still can not be easily accessed. I aspire to help this demographic as well as improving global health.
What was your first impression of Lima?: My first impression of Lima was that it was HUGE. I'm from a tiny island so every place is huge to me. Hopefully, I get to experience everything that this big city has to offer by the end of the internship.
What are your goals for this internship?: My main goal for this internship is to learn as much as I can from MEDLIFE and about how this great non-profit helps the people most in need. My goal in life is to join an organization like Doctors without Borders so having an internship in MEDLIFE will definitely teach me about improving global health and how to best do my part in giving back to the world.

2015-2-7-RoxanneName: Roxanne-A. Garibay
Hometown: Greenfield, CA
School: University of California, Los Angeles
Major: Biology & Spanish Minor
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I applied for our school's leadership board my junior year of college as our chapter was started. Senior year I wished to become more involved and joined the executive team. While I never went on a clinic trip during college, I enjoyed being on the team that expanded our club's knowledge of global health and sent volunteers on trips.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I love food, pastries are my favorite. I also love traveling (naturally with moving to Peru) and being in new places; Cassis, France and Granada, Spain are my favorite cities.
Why did you decide to become an intern?: As I mentioned above, I was part of my school's executive board and was never able to go on a clinic trip. I applied for the internship for two reasons, the first to continue my involvement in MEDLIFE and my perspective to see the functioning of the organization as a while. Secondly, I also am planning to attend PA school and I felt that this internship would solidify my interest in healthcare.
What was your first impression of Lima?: It is enormous! It is also full of culture and different people, and slowly I am learning the different niches that are in the city. The ocean is also so beautiful with the extremely long and peaceful waves that crash on the cliff shores. Lastly, it is always cloudy, always.
What are your goals for this internship?: I hope to be able to expand my understanding of community health, culture and myself. I believe that this MEDLIFE internship will be a great highway to complete this, as well as learning the functions of an NGO. But overall, I hope to be able to help the communities here in a way that positively impacts them, whether this results in expanding on an individual project or with making connections with the patients. I also wish to both bring back the knowledge of community health abroad with me and allow the volunteers to have a sliver of the same experience.

2015-2-6-ChelseaName: Chelsea Barth
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
School: Boston University
Major: Health Science
How I got involved with MEDLIFE:  I wanted to take a year off after college to get more experience in the field of global public health. I wasn't involved with MEDLIFE prior to my internship, but I found out about MEDLIFE after looking at different global health organizations online. I have always wanted to travel to South America and after reading about the work they have done, I knew I wanted to get involved right way.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I love to travel and explore new places as well as meet new people. My favorite thing to do in a new city is go for a run to help me learn my way around. I also really enjoy just chilling at the beach or hanging out watching movies with friends. 
Why did you decide to become an intern?: I want to continue pursuing a public health career and felt I needed to get some hands on experience before I did so. I think that this internship gives me the opportunity to look at the multiple sides of public health and will hopefully help me figure out my next steps. I also loved that I will be able to gain some hands on experience by being out in the fields or helping out in the clinics
What was your first impression of Lima?: Lima is such a big and lively city. There is so much to see and do just in this one city. I am excited to be able to spend more time here and really experience all that it has to offer.
What are your goals for this internship?: I hope to be able learn more about how a global health non-profit runs. I also want to be able to learn more about the different aspects of global health so that I can figure out what I want to do next with my public health career. Another goal of mine is to be able to contribute to the MEDLIFE team and help make a difference in the communities we help.
June 24, 2015 2:10 PM

Meet the Interns Summer 2015 part 3

Written by Jake Kincaid
2015-DanielName: Daniel Masin
Hometown: Bellevue, Washington
School: University of Washington
Major: Biochemistry; Business Administration with a focus in Finance
How I got involved with MEDLIFE: I participated on my first mobile clinic in Tena, Ecuador with several friends and many members of the chapter at UW.  Prior to signing up, I was hesitant to step outside my North American comfort zone, but I'm extraordinarily glad I did.
Why did you decide to become an Intern?: Witnessing and working in the mobile clinic in Tena radically changed my perspective on public health, medicine, the social determinants of health, and the realities of low-income families in that area, besides the fact that I loved getting to know people from all over the world.  I decided to volunteer on another mobile clinic a year later in Lima, Peru without knowing anyone on the trip.  It has been a dream to work as an intern ever since I returned!
What was your first impression of Lima?: After hiking up a hill in Pamplona Alta, one of the areas in which MEDLIFE works on the outskirts of Lima, the view was saddening, frustrating, and bewildering. I could not come to terms with the sheer breadth of the houses (small, tin shacks) that covered the otherwise empty hillsides.  They spanned for miles and miles, accounting for thousands of people that lived in a reality of no formal property rights, extremely little financial resources, and no easy access to healthcare.  At the same time, however, I was encouraged because I knew I could make a difference, alongside MEDLIFE, if I chose to truly devote myself to the mission.
What are your goals for this internship?: Of the myriad goals and aspirations I have for this internship, a primary goal is to become acquainted with some of the community members to truly understand their stories, lives, as well as medical, socioeconomic, and legal challenges.  Another goal is to make progress on my social entrepreneurship project called Clean Choice Fuels that aims to reduce indoor air pollution.  Yet another goal is to learn more about the deep-seated issues that contribute to the poverty trap that many of these families find themselves in, and simultaneously, I would like to explore potential solutions to alleviate these issues.

2015-RolandoName: Rolando Gerena
Hometown: Miami, FL
School: Florida State University
Major: Biochemistry

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: As a college freshman away from home, I knew I had to get involved on campus. Considering my interest in medicine, I attended a pre-health involvement fair. After an hour of looking at the different booths, I was convinced that all the pre-med clubs were the same. As I walked towards the parking lot I saw one of my old friends at a booth called “MEDLIFE” and that marked the beginning of this romance.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m currently in my last year of college and plan on attending medical school once I graduate. I’m a fitness nutritionist and currently working on a paramedic certification. I enjoy playing sports and dancing (especially salsa), so living in Peru has been like living a dream. Fun fact about myself: I’ve never attempted to crack any of my bones.    

Why did you decide to become an intern?: As a MEDLIFE intern, I expected my life to change. Working in a mobile clinic was a great experience, but I felt like there was so much more for my mind to absorb. It felt as if I had read the back cover page of a great novel, only to find out that I couldn’t open it up. Only so much information could be absorbed in a week. So in my mind, the only way to read this book would be through the internship. Being an intern has allowed me to submerge myself deeper into the Peruvian culture and directly work with the little pieces that make MEDLIFE what it is today. 

What was your first impression of Lima?: The first time I came to Lima was this past December. I had previously gone to Ecuador and the weather was beautiful with the sun shining everyday. I had assumed that the weather would be the same but boy was I wrong. You’re lucky if you see the sun over the winter. Apart from the sun, the weather was surprisingly relaxing. The constant breeze mixed in with distant car horns isn’t too shabby.. 

What are your goals for this internship?: I want to better understand the health disparities that Peruvian natives deal with on a daily basis. Seeing what they go through is one thing, but living it is another. There are a lot of socioeconomic factors that take play in determining the quality of care one receives so what better way to be informed than through the publics opinion. Lastly, I hope to find ways to better my chapter and expand MEDLIFE. Many of the other interns have been heavily involved in their respective chapters and each of them brings new ideas to the table. 

2015-TaraName: Tara Piryaei
Hometown: Santa Cruz, California
School: University of California, Davis
Major: Psychology

How I got involved with MEDLIFE: My first year at UC Davis was also the year MEDLIFE at UC Davis became a chapter. My friend Nona Bhatia, now the MEDLIFE at UCD Vice President, thought it would be fun if we went to a meeting. After the first meeting, hearing about the organization's mission statement and goals, both Nona and I were inspired to get more involved. We went on two mobile clinics (Cusco and Tena) and worked on the executive board with an amazing team both in 2014 and 2015. I was fortunate enough to enter UC Davis at the same time MEDLIFE did and be able to grow with this amazing chapter.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I have a lot of energy. I overcommit to extracurriculars. My best friends in college were made from my involvement in Imani Clinic and MEDLIFE. I'm Iranian. Joining MEDLIFE changed my life.

Why did you decide to become an intern?: After going on two mobile clinics trips and being on the executive board for 2 years, I wanted to be more involved with MEDLIFE, and this internship was the perfect way to do so. (Shout out to my sister for guiding me and to my parents for getting me here!)

What was your first impression of Lima?: "This ceviche is sooo good"

What are your goals for this internship?:  I hope to gain a deeper insight on the workings of MEDLIFE International. I hope to learn more about the workings of an NGO. And I hope to leave with enough knowledge about this organization that I can successfully and passionately inspire more of the UC Davis campus to join us on the mobile clinics.

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