American student volunteers at Mexican orphanage and hospital
New Hampshire Health Sciences graduate Amy Cotton spent three months volunteering at an orphanage and hospital with Projects Abroad in Mexico.
Amy chose to volunteer with Projects Abroad after much consideration and deliberation. “I spent a long time researching to find the right volunteer organization,” she shared. “I went with my parents to an information session that Projects Abroad held in my city,” she explained. “The presentation was very informative, and I felt that Projects Abroad was a smart and safe option - I can now say with confidence that Projects Abroad has proven to be a great option,” she enthused.
Amy had very specific reasons for choosing to do a healthcare project in Mexico.
“Living in the US, I feel that the necessity for culturally competent healthcare has become our reality,” she opined. “With the fast-growing and increasingly prominent Hispanic population within America, the acculturation process has to a degree become a reciprocated phenomenon -American culture has begun to adopt Hispanic culture and this incorporation is seen in all aspects of society,” she explained. “My enthusiasm to advocate for the importance of providing culturally competent healthcare helped me decide which volunteer path to choose,” she continued.
The orphanage at which Amy worked houses nine boys from the ages of eight to 13. The fact that there are only nine boys in the facility allowed Amy to form a special relationship with each individual. “I felt welcome from the moment I walked into the orphanage,” she shared.
Amy’s daily tasks at the orphanage included teaching the boys English, playing games and exercising with them, helping them with their homework and helping with cooking and cleaning at the center.
Amy learned a lot about Mexico, its people and its culture during her time at the projects. “My volunteering experience was one of complete immersion into the Spanish culture,” she shared. “The way of life in Mexico is very different from what I am used to - people are very friendly and giving, the culture has so much to offer. I try to take advantage by meeting as many people as I can and experiencing the true way of life through them,” she explained.
Amy’s advice to future volunteers is to stay true to their initial motivation. “I think it is important to remember why you chose to do this,” she explained. “From the moment you wake up in the morning until the moment you go to bed at night, you need to approach every situation with energy and enthusiasm,” she advised.
We hope great stories like these inspire others to help Projects Abroad continue to make a difference, and by doing so, learn something themselves along the way.