As our trip date to Ecuador draws near, the Global Health Dream Team brings you updates on what we have been up to since the trip’s announcement. It is currently our third-year in medical school, which means we have all been busy with clinical rotations and jumping from city to city and clinic to clinic. We are putting our knowledge base to clinical use, seeing more patients than ever before and improving our clinical skills. 

Some of us have had the opportunity to rotate through community-based hospitals and interact with a diverse patient population. For instance, Kyumin and Purnima rotated through St. Mary’s in San Francisco, which houses a high percentage of Taishanese speakers. They worked with translators to gather a history and physical. Kyumin and Purnima shared how difficult it was to speak through a third-party and aimed to pick up a few phrases to make future interactions easier. By learning small phrases like “hello”, “how are you”, “pain” and “thank you”, they were able to initiate their conversations with the patients, which felt more personal and comforting. 

Reflecting on these experiences, we are excited to pick up the national language of Ecuador, experience their food and immerse ourselves in their community and culture. We have been brushing up on our español and some medical terms like vendaje (bandage) and asma (asthma). We especially look forward to sampling the native foods there such as arroz con pollo, ceviche and langostinos. We hope to put to use what we learn and experience to our community service while there!