Mehrdad is a pharmacy technician from Toronto, Canada. He studied Biology and Middle Eastern Studies in college. Mehrdad participated in a healthcare volunteer program in Thailand through World Endeavors.
What did you to do in a typical day at your volunteer placement?
Since my goal was gaining exposure to the Thai health system and being generally helpful, every day was scheduled differently. Some days I would be helping rehabilitation staff with games and activities for autistic children, or witness life-altering surgeries with an amazing orthopedic surgeon, help create guides and pamphlets in English, spend time in various wards from HIV to oncology to allergy, or just blow up balloons for kids and serve warm soy milk and black bean soup.
Where did you live?
I lived in a home stay. I’m still in touch with both my amazing Thai family and the other volunteers staying at the house.
What was your favorite part of your volunteer work?
Working alongside warm and curious Thai people and being helpful to the staff and patients from all over Thailand and abroad. Being part of something so much greater than me and so widely welcomed and included by Thai colleagues.
Why did you choose to go abroad through World Endeavors?
I was looking for a volunteer program in healthcare and World Endeavors offered the best choices at very fair prices. The program overall sounded very interesting and I had a positive feeling about it.
What did you do in your free time?
The hospital was located very conveniently in downtown Bangkok, so everyday after work I would go and explore a different area or various sights. On weekends I went sightseeing or on day trips with my family or fellow housemates/volunteers. I even went out with my Thai hospital colleagues. By the end of the placement, I had seen all of Bangkok and was ready to travel to the rest of Thailand and neighboring countries.
What advice would you give to someone going to Thailand?
You have nothing to worry about. Thailand is cheap, safe, amazing and fun. It’s got kind smiling people and delicious food. My advice would be to see as much of Bangkok as possible during the placement and then go travel afterwards. Thailand has so much to offer, from rainforests in the north to white sandy beaches in south. Cambodia and Laos are also a must.
How was the Thai food?
My family made various dishes every night, some more delicious than others. The spice level is set according to you, but they get very pleased if you can handle spicy food. Delicious dishes, interesting sauces and cool drinks were the usual. A wide array of meats, seafood, vegetables, rice and noodle dishes were served.
For lunch, there are a lot of options all around the hospital and my colleagues would also take me somewhere every day so they can showcase their varied cuisine.
How did your time abroad impact you and your future plans?
I am officially addicted to travel. My goals of being involved in international healthcare after graduating have been re-strengthened, and I have discovered that the best way to travel is to truly get absorbed in that culture and learn their customs and practices. Thailand was the best choice for all of these.