Medical Students and Recent Graduates

We welcome medical students and recent graduates on a limited basis. Those who apply have to complete several additional steps to our medical volunteer (link to medical volunteer page) application process. Prior to applying, it is recommended that you read the Medical Volunteer FAQ.

Since medical education is different around the world, experience will be an important element in determining whether you submit a medical volunteer or student application.

  • Medical students who have had at least one full clinical year may apply as a medical student (which is usually the final year of school, for example, the fourth year of medical school in the US.)
  • Individuals who have worked independently may apply as a medical volunteer rather than as a student (Most US residents can quality as a full clinician).

If you do not feel comfortable making independent assessments and working as a physician with sole responsibility, you should fill out the medical student/recent graduate application. **A supervisor will be scheduled as back up when you are working.

Students volunteers will be integrated into the team, working in different areas of the hospital and receiving first-hand experience diagnosing and treating patients (under the supervision of the chief of medicine or doctor on call). They will also be expected to fill a specific function during their time at the hospital and will work in both patient and non-patient departments. Student volunteers will be required to make a 30-minute case presentation - on a subject relevant to health care in Santiago Atitlán - at the conclusion of their rotations.

If you plan on doing additional travel while in Guatemala, please schedule your trips for before or after your scheduled volunteer time.

Students must:

  • Commit to a minimum of one full month working at the Hospitalito.
    • Preference will be given to applicants who are able to work more than one month
  • Be proficient in advanced level Spanish.
  • Play a $50 application fee
  • Pay an additional $250 clinical supervision fee, if accepted.
    • There is additionally a $100 per month fee for those who volunteer more than one month.
  • Supervisory fees are refundable up to 60 prior to scheduled arrival
  • Prepare a 30-minute presentation in Spanish on a topic of interest to the Hospitalito permanent and volunteer staff during the last week of their volunteer stint. A copy of the presentation must also be uploaded to the HA computer.

If you are interested in volunteering, fill out the Student Application. Note: Do not make arrangements to come until you have received an Acceptance Letter, provided all the documents required and arranged your dates with our volunteer coordinator.

In addition to working in the hospital, you may be doing community outreach and traveling to rural areas, Cerro de Oro and Chacaya, where the need is great. You will travel with a team of doctors and nurses that speak the Maya language. The group will take lab tests, medical supplies and medicine.

You can help to provide free care to the very poor by sending a letter to friends, co-workers and family members. This letter is a request for donations that will go a long way to provide needed medical care. The donor will receive a tax receipt for their gift, and will help Hospitalito Atitlán to make community outreach a success.

Once you have been accepted as a volunteer, the medical volunteer coordinator will send a copy of the email we hope you will share with the people you know who might help to make your experience in Santiago Atitlán as rewarding as possible.

If You Are Accepted

If you are accepted, you will need to return your signed Confirmation Letter to our volunteer coordinator (Febe Sosof and determine your service dates.

Student Supervision

All students must be directly supervised for their protection and that of our patients. Both students and clinicians are responsible for making sure this occurs. Students must present each patient to a clinician, reviewing his/her findings with the supervisor. All orders, prescriptions and charts must be co-signed by a clinician before prescriptions are filled, labs are performed or patients leave the hospital.

Clinicians can include a licensed Guatemalan medical doctor or a licensed medical doctor from another country. For uncomplicated, non-surgical deliveries, a professional nurse midwife may be the supervisor.


If your program requires that you be evaluated by supervising clinicians at the Hospitalito, the forms must be made available to our staff in Spanish. In addition, any communications between a student medical program director and Hospitalito Medical Director Dr. Chuc must be in Spanish.

Although we often have clinicians who are fluent in English, it is not always guaranteed. So it is the responsibility of the student volunteer and his/her program to provide the translation.

Students without Clinical Experience

Students without clinical experience should apply as non-medical volunteers.

They will not:

Receive clinical experience or teaching.
Shadow physicians or observe care.

General volunteers are accepted if they agree to perform a specific function during their stay (training local staff, creating educational videos, helping with inventory...), which they are committed to completing. Before such students are accepted, their function must be specified. In addition, they must be proficient in Spanish.