Meet the Interns: Maureen

Maureen Nealon, affectionately referred to as “Momo” by her friends and family, is one of our four current Interns in Peru this summer. Formerly having lived in Lima for several years, the sophomore at McGill University is a fluent Spanish speaker and lover of all things Limeño.  Here’s some questions she answered for us regarding her first experience with MEDLIFE abroad:

80-1What do you like about being an intern?

I like that we have the opportunity to do real hands on work and interact with the communities where MEDLIFE works over long periods of time. As interns we are able to shadow and participate in all areas of the organization as well as have the independence to pursue our own projects. I have really enjoyed getting to know the communities and those who live there.

Tell us an anecdote about your experience thus far:

There have been some hilarious mishaps along the way. There was one day of particularly bad luck in which we had to help push the out-of-gas MEDLIFE bus down one of Lima’s main streets, take out 12 bags of garbage that proceeded to rip open all over the office floor, and clean up a flood in our kitchen. We’re still convinced that it was some sort of MEDLIFE hazing ritual, even though everyone denies it!

Where are you from?

This is a hard question to answer. I was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire but have moved around a lot with my family between North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. The longest I’ve ever lived anywhere was the four years I lived in Lima, Peru between 2007-2011.

How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?

I was looking for an excuse to come back to Peru and I had gone to a few meetings at my MEDLIFE chapter at McGill. So when I heard about the internship opportunity I jumped on it! It’s the perfect mix of fieldwork and office work and also combines my love for Peru, my degree in international development, and my passion for global health.

80-2What has surprised you about Lima?

I love how diverse Lima is. Every neighborhood is completely different from one another; they feel like separate cities. They are each so unique and have their own charm. I never get bored!

What do you look forward to most this summer?

I look forward to getting to know the great MEDLIFE staff and the other interns as well rediscovering Lima and spending time with my high school friends. I also plan on eating as much Peruvian food as possible before I go back to Montreal (and by Peruvian food I mostly just mean FITNESS Cereal)!


Hear it From MEDLIFErs

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Reya Seby
Western University

This trip motivated me more to pursue a career in the healthcare field so that I can use my resources to help those who need it the most, similar to MEDLIFE’s mission.

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Victoria DiCanio
University of Connecticut

It was most enjoyable to finish the hard work and see how big a difference a group of individuals can make. It was such an amazing experience.

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Anita Woo
University of Toronto

I enjoyed the mobile clinics the most, especially the dental and triage portions. I would definitely recommend a MEDLIFE trip, it was a great experience.

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David Saff
Maclay High School

The most enjoyable part of my trip was hanging out with the amazing group of kids I was with. I would highly recommend a MEDLIFE volunteer trip to others.

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Sydney Sansone
Nova Southeastern University

This trip made everything that I was learning in my public health courses come to life and immersed me in a new culture while also learning about medicine.

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Abygail Youmans
College of Charleston

Being involved with MEDLIFE is not like joining another club - its bigger than that. It is about joining a movement that seeks to help change people’s quality of life for forever.

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Emi Hofmann
University of Central Florida

Not only was I able to participate in a week long Mobile Clinic, shadowing doctors of all types of specialties including pharmacy, dentistry, gynecology, and more, but I was also able to learn about the culture and visit incredible places.

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Julian Takagi-Stewart
University of Toronto

One thing that I really loved about this trip was that MEDLIFE made sure that the volunteers got an understanding of the complexity of issues that lead to underprivileged people in communities outside of the main city

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Hannah Van Hofwegen
University of Ottawa

Whether it was basketball with the local kids, assisting the doctors, talking with families, building washrooms, holding babies, or spending time with the people who were on the SLT with me, this was an amazing opportunity that I would do over and over again.

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Isabelle Holt
Cornell University

I loved learning about the patients MEDLIFE has followed and how they offer real help to people with chronic/urgent conditions. It is amazing how the organization formed real connections with the communities.

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Valerie Lindeborg

Our family had the privilege of participating in multiple trips with Nick [founder] and his amazing staff. Their expertise made the trips unforgettable while instilling in my boys the fundamentals of good character: selflessness, compassion, and empathy.

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Harry Vildibill
University of Georgia

As an aspiring physician, MEDLIFE motivated me to further continue my goal of becoming a doctor. In fact, I enjoyed the Tanzania Service Learning Trip so much that I decided to go on another trip to Cusco, Peru.