For students looking for experience and a way to spend their summer break giving back and seeing the world, Project HOPE is a great opportunity.
Wendy Song, an interpreter for the Project HOPE New Horizons mission in Peru, is a rising junior at UNC Chapel Hill, looking to tie in real-world experience with her major of study. Song is pre-dental, majoring in Global Studies with a focus on Global Health, so this particular mission is a great fit. She also happens to be fluent in Spanish and has proven to be a critical part of the Project HOPE and larger Air Force Medical team, serving as interpreter for the entire six-week mission.
The mission medical sites offer a dental clinic, and Song has shadowed and served as translator assisting in extractions and cleanings primarily. But, her role also offers her a chance to bounce around to lots of different specialties – she’s also served in pediatrics and ophthalmology, which she really enjoyed.
“I definitely like that I’ve been able to get a little taste of everything,” Song says. But mostly, she enjoys interacting with the patients. “I feel so welcomed by the people of Peru. [After working with a patient], I’m often greeted warmly as a friend, with a kiss on the cheek,” she adds.
This mission with HOPE has been a great experience for Song and she says that, after dental school, she hopes to work for an international NGO to use her skills to care for people and see the world. Volunteering with Project HOPE is a great first step to accomplishing that goal.
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