My volunteering experience as medical Student  
Tina Haeshin Park- Korea
Cornell University

Volunteering in Nepal was one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences I have had in my life. At first, the whole idea seemed a bit crazy and scary, especially because of the political situation. However, as I got accustomed to the culture and as I got to know the INFO Nepal staff better, I felt very safe and comfortable working at the health post. At the health post, I took blood pressures, dressed wounds, and learned a lot about Nepalese hospital system and medicine. Although there was a huge language barrier, I always felt involved because the doctor was so enthusiastic in teaching me. 

The host family and the village people were very friendly. They were also very curious about foreign cultures, so expect a lot of questions about yourself, your family, and food. I taught children at the library in the morning and in the evening. The children are really really sweet, and they love practicing their English by talking to volunteers or playing games like Simon Says or Taboo. I loved spending time with them outside the classroom (to play ping pong, to eat lunch with their families, to see their family pictures, to play soccer, and etc), and I will always miss everyone. 

I got to do some traveling during weekends. I visited Lumbini (the birth place of Buddha), rafted in Pokhara, and rode an elephant in Chitwan National Park. There is so much to see, so much to do, and so much to learn in Nepal. I hope prospective volunteers are not too discouraged to come to Nepal because of the way political situation is portrayed in the news. Although the situation is unfortunate and serious, there are serious measures against terrorism (such as frequent check-points in the highways), and everyday life continues without grave problems as far as I can tell. I have met Maoists, and I have met the army men. I admit I was scared at first, but I learned that as long as you approach them in a friendly and polite manner, they are generally very nice to you. The  Maoists may ask you or your host family questions about why you are staying in Nepal, but many non-Maoists ask the same question. Just let them know that you are volunteering and that your interests are not political. I'm very glad I decided to volunteer in Nepal despite my initial worries about the political situation because I came home with
great memories, friendships, and lessons. 
 


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