Sitting amidst the lap of the mighty Himalayas, Nepal has rightly earned the sobriquet- “The roof of the world”. The small mountain kingdom attracts adventurers and travelers of every inclination and interest. Whether you want to inner engineer your spiritual side, feel the adrenaline rush hiking untamed peaks, or simply explore an ancient culture, Nepal welcomes all with open arms all through the year.
Home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, the country’s tourism sector is one of the largest revenue streams for the government as well as a significantly large section of the local population.
The country has significantly improved its overall infrastructure, especially its health system in the last decade. Although this has led to an increase in the number of hospitals and health professionals, people in rural areas and the poor people dwelling in urban areas don’t have adequate access to health care. Waterborne diseases due to poor sanitation in these areas is a leading cause of many communicable diseases in Nepal.
Disparity in health care access is a problem that can be successfully overcome through a concentrated effort from the local civic bodies as well as responsible international volunteering.
Volunteering in a medical internship in Nepal adds immense value for overseas students from a pre-med, medical, or nursing background. Students joining medical programs are typically placed at local hospitals, both private and government, or community clinics. The interns are under careful guidance of professional doctors and nursing staff where they observe and learn about the medical practices in Nepal. This program equips the students with a goldmine of knowledge which goes a long way in enriching their medical careers while giving them an edge over their peers back in college.
Here are the top 7 reasons why you should seriously consider a medical volunteering opportunity in Nepal:
- Gain hands-on experience
The classic bind that most medical graduates find themselves is the expectation from the employer to demonstrate practical on-the-job skills. How can one get experience when one is still studying? The smartest way out of this catch-22 situation is to get your hands dirty with medical volunteering. Shadowing experienced medical professionals in Nepal allows you to learn about the real, day-to-day work of a doctor by following observing them as they work. You also get to ask relevant questions that will add to your experience and knowledge.
- Expand your professional network
Meeting people from your profession in Nepal, whether they are other medical volunteer students or experienced doctors is a great way to build a strong professional network for your future. Nepal often hosts some of the world’s top doctors and researchers for the benefit of the medical community there. Volunteering in Nepal helps you closely follow latest research in your field and provides a platform for mentorship and career advice. Professionally networking with accomplished physicians in Nepal opens up a plethora of exciting new job opportunities worldwide by way of references.
- Give back to the community
The people of Nepal are grateful for the work done by medical volunteers every year. It helps reduce the stress and workload of local physicians, who are often overloaded. Many local doctors have mentioned that working with volunteers is a much-needed break from their punishing schedules and gives them a chance to exchange cheerful banter with people from other cultures. Volunteers assisting doctors directly contribute to the well-being of the patient by aiding with simple triaging, dressings, and measuring vitals.
- Exposure to unique diseases and remedies
There are many diseases and unique health conditions that are endemic and unique to Nepal. As a medical student in the west, one may never encounter these in the field, and doctors there are often out of their depth when faced with such a case. Working with doctors in Nepal exposes young students to several diseases localized to the region. Diseases such as malaria, Leishmaniasis (Kala-azar) and Dengue are seasonal and common. As a volunteer, you get to understand the causes, symptoms, and proven remedies for such illnesses.
- Develop strong interpersonal skills
On any given day in Nepal, you will interact not only with the local Nepalese population but also with people from several nationalities. Interactions could range from casual to professional, or involve complex dynamics such as problem solving and conflict resolution. These interactions are key to developing strong interpersonal skills which go a long way in both your professional and personal life.
- Explore other lucrative career opportunities
When you work alongside doctors in Nepal, you will realize that the field of medicine is far reaching and more extensive than you imagined. You will see that there are many niche’ fields within your discipline where you could advance your career as a specialist. There are instances of students who come here with the intention of training under one specialization and returning to their country with a fresh perspective about other possible career avenues they could explore. In essence, volunteering in Nepal is bound to lend you deeper insights into your own field as well as other rare disciplines in medicine.
- Travel and network with a purpose
Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. Traveling while giving back to the community while you learn is a win-win for everybody. You get to explore the country with a different lens that is far more introspective, spiritual, responsible, and meaningful than that of a normal tourist. The communities you work with will remember your service and treasure your friendship and camaraderie. You make lifelong friends and nurture professional relationships lifelong with other volunteers.
Volunteer for a medical project in Nepal and support the local communities that need your help. You can choose to volunteer in vibrant and bustling Kathmandu or prefer a more remote location. Whatever you choose, remember that every hour you spend working with the medical community here is time spent responsibly!
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