Helping Hands

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Through my desire to become a physician someday, I am very passionate about helping others. Before coming to Costa Rica, two of my goals were regarding healthcare: 1) become more proficient with Spanish medical terminology, and 2) to learn more about the Costa Rican healthcare system. Through my Spanish course, not only was I able to excel in the material, but I was able to assess “patient” and “doctor” interactions, and learn more about their healthcare system. In comparison to the United States, Costa Rica has universal coverage through their healthcare system called Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS). Therefore, they offer 100% coverage for any medical procedures or prescription drugs. The downside of universal healthcare is that they have to join a waitlist where they may have to wait a few years before they get scheduled for an appointment.

To put the terminology into practice, I began volunteering at Hogar Carlos Maria Ulloa which is a well-known nursing home in San Jose. I assisted 8 hours per week for about a month and a half. Many of the activities included interactions with the elderly such as painting their nails, coloring, playing games, hands-on activities, and setting up parties. Overall, this experience was very rewarding as i got to immerse myself into some aspect of their healthcare system.