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SIGP recipient EsterEster Hernandez (WCAS ’18) is an anthropology major interning this summer with the Atlantis Project as part of the Summer Internship Grant Program (SIGP).

The internship that I took part in was under the coordination of the Atlantis Project. This is a program that I came about through the Internet while spending time researching pre-med opportunities for my summer. I was searching for some volunteer opportunities that could relate to medicine such as working at a clinic or helping at a shelter center. I was considering opportunities that would allow me to experience something in the health system. I had never shadowed doctors nor had the opportunity and after reading the purpose and goals of this program I was intrigued to apply immediately. The application process was a very simple online form. The letters of recommendation were also an online format. This simple application process was easily accessible and took no efforts explaining my interest in medicine. It offered me a broad range of programs that took place in various parts of Spain as well as various different times throughout the year. After getting accepted I was thrilled at how informed the organization kept me after submitting my deposit. They helped me with various inland and foreign coordinators to guide me throughout my entire trip.

My experience abroad has been beyond helpful towards my career goals. I am observing doctors of various departments in a local hospital under a different health care system than the one I am accustomed to in the United States. As an academic student, pursuing a career in the healthcare and medicine, & not having a close relation to any contacts that have such a career it is entirely useful to experience real life work of different specialties. It helps to identify what is real in a health system and what is perhaps myth or fiction such as knowing everything in a field instantly. I was able to see how even doctors are sometimes unaware of a certain illness and have to confer with other physicians or even literature to find a rapid response. It has helped me see what talents and abilities I will need to enhance or work on to be able to reach my goal as a medic.

I was also able to interact with strangers from different places in the US and had the opportunity to enhance my people skills. It was a foreign experience entirely but I was able to trust my coordinators and my fellows to make the best of the experience. It was a well deserved experience to meet other aspiring medics as well as members of a different culture performing healthcare responsibilities as one unit.