Meet the Interns: Sean

Sean White came to intern with us at MEDLIFE Peru fresh out of MIchigan State University as a result of his unforgettable experience serving as part of a Mobile Clinic in Lima last year. Here’s what he told us about his motivation to help out with our mission:


How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?
I became involved with MEDLIFE over two years ago. I enjoyed my courses at Michigan State about contemporary issues in the global political economy which covered topics including: the critical shortage in health care worldwide; social forces and competing ideologies in a world context; global resource distribution; international development strategies; and first and third world dichotomies. I saw on Facebook that an old friend was involved with MEDLIFE and began researching the organization to find out more about it. MEDLIFE’s commitment to listening to the poor, providing culturally sensitive care, attacking the root cause of disease and suffering, and finding sustainable development solutions was different than most other aid organizations, and meshed perfectly with the theoretical knowledge that I had just gained in the classroom. That winter, I attended a Mobile Clinic in Lima, Peru and when I returned, started the Michigan State University MEDLIFE Chapter.

Where are you from?

I was born in Flint, Michigan and grew up in Flint and Grand Blanc, Michigan. I studied business management at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan and graduated in May 2012.

Tell us an anecdote from your experience with MEDLIFE thus far:

A few nights ago, I had the chance to go to a community meeting in Union Santa Fé in Pamplona with Carlos, our Director of Peru. The meeting lasted over two hours and it was both heart-warming and inspiring to see firsthand how the community organizes with Carlos to raise health, hygiene, and living standards, and how grateful they are for MEDLIFE’s presence in their community. The next day, Carlos told me that the community continued their meeting for another two hours, staying until 1:00 A.M., sorting out which members of the community would be responsible for working on each of the projects and on which days.

What was your first impression of Peru? What has surprised you about Peru?

My first impression of Peru was just simply how different it is from Michigan. When friends and family at home ask me, “What is Peru like?” I tell them to imagine Michigan, but the exact opposite.

For me, the people of Peru are the best part. Everyone I have met here has been so kind, welcoming, and genuine. This holds especially true in the communities in which we work. The people there form amazing communities that they take great pride in claiming as their own, and rightly so because they’ve put considerable effort into building and maintaining these communities. It is refreshing to see the pride Peruvians have in their community and fellow man.

Why did you decide to become an intern?

I decided to become an intern with MEDLIFE because the internship provides a unique blend of a number of my interests regarding health care education and awareness, community development through infrastructure projects that advance health and hygiene, and economic progress. Each day is fast-paced, interesting, and different. I’m constantly learning while also having the opportunity to experience another culture.

What do you look forward to most this year?

What I am looking forward to most this year is joining Nick, Carlos, Meri, and the rest of the staff in the field and being able to experience MEDLIFE’s patient follow-up care, as well as the preparation and designation of community development projects. Also, being a part of all the hard work and effort that goes into these year-round projects. Prior to becoming an intern, I went on two MEDLIFE Mobile Clinics, which are very well organized and carefully orchestrated, so most students (myself included) don’t see or realize how much hard work and effort goes into making sure the clinics go smoothly or how many other things MEDLIFE is doing simultaneously and throughout the year.



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.