When you’re a young person trying to decide where to volunteer in the world, in can be a really overwhelming experience. You just want to help, but you don’t know where you want to go or what you want to do. Going through the process of choosing your volunteer project can be a bit of a journey, but once you come out on the other side and actually make a decision, you’ll immediately feel at peace with yourself. But if you’re still wondering what sort of work you’d like to do, have you ever considered working in a hospital? It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about being a doctor or a nurse, volunteering in a hospital can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your young life, and it is certainly something worthy to put on your Curriculum Vitae. Here are a few reasons to consider volunteering in an international hospital or medical facility:
You don’t need medical skills to be a volunteer
Medical facilities in the developing world could use non-medical volunteers as much as they need medical professionals. When I was working in Zambia on a community conservation project, I volunteered for a couple of days to work in the local clinic. When I arrived, there was a long line-up of young babies and their worried mothers. There were children suffering from all sorts of medical conditions, from deadly malaria to an itchy skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris. I spent most of the day holding babies and making their mother’s laugh. The doctors and nurses at the clinic said I had such a way with their patients that they wanted to work on creating a volunteer program for individuals to come and keep their terminal patients company. You know what they say, laughter really is the best medicine.
It might inspire you to take up a career in medicine
Two of my cousins became nurses after they went to Africa and spent eight months working in Mozambique and Namibia. When they returned from their trip, they both simultaneously applied to Nursing school and were admitted almost immediately. They were so inspired by the work that they had been a part of that it was important to them to make it their careers.
It looks amazing on a resume
Volunteering for an organization, as we know, isn’t just good for the soul, it’s good for the resume too! If you’re trying to apply to an ivy league college, or maybe you’re trying to get into a particular grad school, taking time off to travel is one thing, but taking time off to volunteer in a medical facility makes you look like a rock star. Working in a hospital or clinic means that you are dealing with suffering, emotional pain, hope, and any number of highly charged situations. It shows that you are capable of responsibility, you’re capable of empathy and understanding, and you are willing to give of yourself to help others through their pain.
I don’t really think that you need more than one reason to volunteer somewhere like a hospital or a clinic, other than it’s just good to help people.