CHICAGO (CBS) — Ten Northwestern University medical students are packing up everything from gloves to gowns to syringes, in anticipation of a month long trip to Oaxaca, Mexico.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports, they are part of a program that sends doctors and medical students to countries in need.

“This is my first international health experience. Looking forward to just kind of seeing what doing global health work is like, seeing the differences that exist doing medicine in underserved communities abroad,” said fourth-year med student Gathi Abraham.

Chelsea Berdahl coordinates the trip thanks to NU-AID. She says students head to different countries twice a year.

“Students will have a chance to work within local providers clinics and hear their side of the story as well,” Berdahl said.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Lisa Fielding reports

Jasmine Rassiwala spent a week in Nicaragua last winter. She says the experience was an emotional one.

“We have a couple of patients who come back every year,” Rassiwala said. “They are really, really excited and really grateful to have people come back every year.”

The program is funded by the Global Health Initiative. In the last three years, its helped send over 225 medical students and physicians to 23 different low-resource countries around the globe.

“It enhances their clinical skills, it increases their sense of compassion, taking them out of the classroom, taking them out of their comfort zone. They come back with this enhanced skill set. They tell us it’s a life changing experience for them,” said Cynthia Garbutt, spokeswoman for the Global Health Initiative at Chicago Lake Shore Medical Associates.

The students will leave July 2 and return July 29.

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