Meet the Interns: Oana

Oana Butnareanu is serving as a MEDLIFE summer intern in Lima, Peru. How did she end up in Latin America?  She puts it in her own words:


9-1Where are you from?

I was born in Romania and I grew up in Hollywood, California, but I’m totally Latin American at heart.  I just wrapped up my junior year at Stanford, where I am double majoring in Biology and Iberian and Latin American Cultures.

Why did you decide to be a MEDLIFE intern?

I love Spanish, people, medicine and adventure! I have always wanted to work with underprivileged communities in Latin America, especially in a medical setting, and this seemed like the perfect place to start.

What was your first impression of Lima?

I dubbed Lima “the city of contrasts.” It’s absolutely astonishing that places of extreme poverty like Pamplona Alta and areas of relative wealth (by Peruvian standards) like Miraflores and Jockey Plaza can exist within a few kilometers of one another. The people are also pretty amazing; they’re some of the most warm and welcoming indivuals I have ever met!

What do you look forward to most this summer?

Peruvian telenovelas (soap operas)! Also trying the amazing local cuisine and hanging out with all the Peruvian staff here in the office – they’re awesome!


Oana’s fluency in Spanish has come in handy so far – she has served as the group’s translator on a number of occasions. We look forward to having Oana assist with a number of educational initiatives MEDLIFE is launching this summer. Check back here to see the results of her work!


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.