Admissions Essay - An Internship and My Interest in Medicine 


How does a hospital run without adequate water to develop X-ray films? What are the signs and symptoms of malaria? What is the most common cause of infant mortality worldwide? These are all questions to which I learned answers during my six-week clerkship in rural South Africa. That a well-rounded education is the mark of a true scholar is a belief I acquired from my high-school education, and in that spirit I flew off to try and understand some of the important issues in the changing South African health care system. 


I learned more than I had anticipated was possible and can easily conclude that studying abroad is one of the quickest, most memorable, and most enjoyable ways of broadening one's education. Furthermore, it teaches lessons that are not possible to learn at home. 


Tinswalo Hospital, where I worked, is small. The number of hospital beds is approximately 92, and the faculty (consisting of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, translators, and administrators) is fewer than 200. The population that the hospital serves, on the other hand, is large - approaching 200,000. Although Nelson Mandela has been increasing government funds for this and other public hospitals, diagnostic and treatment supplies are scarce. Deciding how to distribute scarce resources among a large population is a common, complicated topic in African discussions, as is the efficient use of these resources after distribution. 


As technology gets more expensive and the struggle to balance the budget continues, discussions on resource distribution and improved efficiency are also becoming prevalent in the United States. Although American physicians tend to be interested in the science and not the administration of health care, the two go hand in hand. In South Africa, one has the chance to work with and learn from other medical students whose curricula include rotations in health care administration...

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