Name: Minali Nemani
Hometown: Carrollton, Texas
Nationality: United States
University: Boston University
Degree: Pre-medicine/Healthcare Management
Languages spoken: English and Spanish (intermediate)
Past travel experience:
Volunteer Abroad: Medical Assistance in Quito, Ecuador
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: May 2017
Claim to fame: Minali has been a volunteer at her local hospital for many years. A true UBELONGer!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
While I never really traveled solo to a foreign country, I wanted to experience the culture and build awareness of how life is like in other countries like Ecuador. UBELONG offered exactly what I wanted for this international experience. They are really great at providing a culturally immersive program that was safe and educational.
I was able to help with patient intake and learn some new skills along the way by using what I already knew. I also learned a lot from the healthcare providers in the local clinic as a volunteer medical assistant. As an aspiring physician at Boston University, I felt this experience really put into perspective why I love the medical field and helped expand on my interest in global health.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
I knew I wouldn’t make a huge impact on the people’s lives while working in the clinic. I was able to provide assistance to alleviate the influx of patients in the clinic. With very few doctors, any help with directing and working with patients can really go a long way. It’s very satisfying knowing that my presence helped ease the process while I was there and that they appreciate the effort I put into my volunteer project assignment.
What were your major challenges?
One of my major challenges was switching to thinking in Spanish. When working in patient intake, taking the patient’s measurements (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.) required a lot of communication between the nurses and me in a very time sensitive environment. However, within a couple of days it became easier and I was able to speak more fluently. I really attribute this to the program’s immersion in the culture.
What is your favorite memory?
My favorite memory would have to be traveling to Baños with some of the other UBELONGers and going to white-water rafting and canyoning. Seeing each other outside of the volunteer project and spending the whole weekend together really sparked a wonderful friendship. We still keep in touch and already made plans to meet up after we finish working in our volunteer projects in Ecuador!