Meet the Interns: Rachel H.

Rachel is a recent graduate from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is barely five days into her media internship at MEDLIFE Ecuador in Riobamba. So far, the Jersey native has spent her time battling the dusty mountain tops of Guamote for photos of an upcoming school project, roaming the communities of the coast on a scouting mission, and identifying patient stories for compelling video footage. Now, let’s get some background on our newest addition to MEDLIFE’s communications team: 

MeetRachelH2Tell us a bit about yourself:

I grew up in one of the many suburbs of New Jersey shore. From a young age, I always enjoyed bothering people with questions about their lives and scribbling it down. I am stubbornly and strictly interested in documenting the human condition, mainly for social justice purposes. Though I am a visual storyteller, I hardly take photographs when not on the job.

How did you get involved with MEDLIFE?

I found MEDLIFE through a job posting the website, idealist.org. As a recent graduate of journalism school with a good dose of wanderlust, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to use my media skills for a good cause while learning about the health care concerns of an entirely different region of the world.

What was your first impression of Riobamba?

I arrived in Riobamba at 2 AM, so therefore my first impression was “dark.” However, the next morning I was pleasantly surprised to see the thin outlines of mountains beyond the city’s borders. I’ve never seen more places to grab a quick meal of roasted chicken. I quite like the winding streets. I find the howls of stray dogs in the evening less favorable.

What do you like most about being an intern?

I like the open-ended possibility. Right now, I am not quite sure of where we desire to direct our media efforts here in Ecuador since I am the first longer-term media intern, and am enjoying the brainstorming process. I also am enjoying the excuse to follow anyone around at any given time on important business.


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

When we traveled to Esmeraldas, a small city on the coast, this past week, I met a girl while taking photographs of her community. She was thin and tall with a high pony tail of tightly curled black hair. She asked if I was taking photos, and I said yes. She told me she was 14 and lived in the house behind us. I attempted to chat with her in my broken spanish and she didn’t seem to mind. She looked me straight in the eyes and didn’t even seem to mind that I was pretty much the epitome of an outsider in her neighborhood. My first instinct was to take a photo of her, but it didn’t feel right. I think it’s important to see other people as just that — people — especially when you are outside of your element.

How do you think the internship will help you with your future plans / career?

I am hoping that this internship will provide me with more life experience in connecting with people entirely different than myself and continue to grow my media skills in foreign reporting.


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.