Archive | Structured programs

Why no AAVMC guidelines for pre-vet students providing patient care abroad?

In the US, one of the most common — if not the most common reason — for pre-vet students to volunteer internationally is because they want to perform surgery. VIDA is the only company that wink/nod/unofficially sells that opportunity to inexperienced high school and undergraduate students. In the pre-med world, there is a bigger voluntourism industry catering to students’ desires toRead More »

Trip review: VIDA pre-vet volunteering program in Guatemala

A patient recovers from surgery anesthesia on a heating pad in a school room in Guatemala   This is a long post. To give you a “too long; didn’t read” summary: VIDA was my most frustrating, most ethically problematic, and most expensive international volunteer experience. I do not recommend the program. VIDA is, first and foremost, a tourism company that sells an emotionally fulfilling experienceRead More »

Trip review: Humanity World pre-vet volunteering in Ghana, West Africa

Dr. Lewis Adjei (in green) with his assistant Jeff (in red), examining a client’s dog Official pitch “We organize and undertake humanitarian, volunteer, internship and capacity building projects, educational and cultural exchange trips tailored to the interests of volunteers, interns, groups, donors and partners worldwide to alleviate the challenges of Africa.” (The phrasing of that last bit makes me think ofRead More »

Structured voluntourism program, placement agency, or independent volunteering?

So, you’ve thought about what you want to get out of an international volunteering experience, and now you’re ready to decide whether a structured program, an unstructured placement, or independent volunteering meets those needs best. What are the differences? Structured programs A structured voluntourism program with domestic animals generally focuses on skills-building. The two biggestRead More »

What is “voluntourism”?

When I went to East Africa on a wildlife watching vacation, I had a couple of days of downtime at a campground in Uganda. I was planning to spend the time drinking beer by the river and reading a book. There was a group at the same campground who were there on a volunteer projectRead More »