A Biosocial Approach
A Biosocial Approach
Volunteer work and shadowing are an integral component of the Student Immersion Program. Not only do they provide students with the opportunity to utilize and sharpen their Spanish skills, but also result in some of the most profound cross-cultural experiences. Starting in the second month of the program participants will be involved in educational projects and later, during the final month of the program when Spanish levels are stronger, they can include shadowing opportunities in various settings. The projects are Guatemalan-run, and are designed and developed to provide the services most needed in the local community.
Somos Hermanos is committed to ensuring that participants are matched up with the right projects for them – projects for which they are passionate and enthusiastic. Somos Hermanos offers a variety of projects for students to choose from. Some of these projects include the following:
Somos Hermanos participants can shadow in primary health care centers (both rural and urban), clinics and hospitals so that they can better understand the different doctor-patient relationship and perceptions in health care, and become familiar with medical terminology in Spanish.
Opportunities to shadow in local public health centers exist for a variety of medically related professions including: OB/GYN, social work, laboratory, nutrition and psychology.
Our participants also have the option of shadowing the local volunteer firefighter/EMTs. Participants are able to go along for emergency calls, and learn about the emergency medical services and approach in Guatemala.
For medically related volunteering, Somos Hermanos follows the AAMC Guidelines for Premedical and Medical Students Providing Patient Care During Clinical Experiences Abroad:
Students may also choose to participate in education outreach projects for elementary school children, adolescents, or women's groups. For health education, topics range from basic hygiene to sexual health and HIV/AIDS. Additionally, most health education classes focus on nutrition, one of the most serious problems in Guatemala. According to UNICEF representative Manuel Manrique, the effects of malnutrition on child development in Guatemala are like "a life sentence," because it "compromises their health, their ability to learn, and their growth."
In response to the low quality and limited access to basic education in the outskirts of Quetzaltenango, various organizations run after-school education and day care programming. Somos Hermanos participants design and give basic education and supplementary classes in a subject that they feel comfortable with. This could be science, art, music, English, computer skills, or other areas.