Do you dream of pairing your skills as a surgical tech with your desire to see the world? Are you curious about medical practices in other parts of the globe? Would you like to boost your resume with international medical experience while simultaneously helping a community in need? If you answered yes to these questions, volunteering abroad as a surgical tech is for you.
As a surgical tech, you already possess an interest in medicine and helping others. As a traveler, you are curious about other cultures and seeing different environments. Whether you are a recent graduate, an experienced surgical tech or a current student looking for academic credit, several programs are available to assist you.
To begin your search, make a list of the places you are interested in visiting. Do you desire to see the Great Wall of China? Is it your lifelong dream to go on a safari in Kenya? Does the thought of visiting Buddhist Temples in Thailand make your heart flutter? Have you always wanted to live on a ship at sea? In this phase of planning, dream big.
After you have completed this phase, write down other goals of your time abroad. For example, do you desire to work with children? Is there are certain type of medical problem or surgery you would like to gain experience with to advance your career at home?
What type of company would you like to work with? Do you prefer to work with a religious or secular organization? Are you an inexperienced traveler searching for a company that will offer support from stem to stern or are you an experienced traveler looking to volunteer as part of a longer trip?
Once you have your goals in mind, you are ready to begin your search. Here are a quick list of companies that may be a possible fit for your needs: Mercy Ships, GVI USA, Volunteer Crossing and Medical Missions. Mercy Ships is a Christian organization that utilizes hospital ships to create mobile healthcare for people regardless of gender, race or religion. GVI USA is a non-religious organization that runs volunteer projects all over the world. Volunteer Crossing and Medical Missions are job boards matching volunteers with open opportunities.
In addition to researching the opportunities available at the companies listed above, don’t hesitate to ask around your local community for connections. Your local university, alma mater, non-profit or religious organization may offer volunteer opportunities that will fulfill your goals as a volunteer and provide you with the chance to network locally.
What type of patient can you expect to work with? Most volunteer organizations serve communities in third world nations. Be prepared to work with people living in extreme poverty and hazardous living conditions. You will work in clinics, hospitals, and possibly homes. Depending on the company you work with, you may be able to choose whether you will work with children or adults. If you choose an international project for the needy, the work environment will most likely be very different from your experience here in the United States. Ask the company you are working with for detailed questions about the conditions and the hours you will be working.
Many companies offer sight seeing trips for their volunteers on their days off. Be sure to ask questions about their offerings and if there is an additional cost to participate. Also, be sure to ask the company what costs you are expected to cover and what costs they cover. Do you need a visa for the country you are visiting? Are you immunizations up to date?
Locations are available across the globe.
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