Madison Hopkins: Happiness Comes from Knowing You Impacted Another Individual

Madison Hopkins is from a small town in Massachusetts by the name of Plainville. She is currently a junior Biological Sciences major at Clemson University in South Carolina. At Clemson she is involved in a wide array of campus activities anywhere from tutoring local elementary school students to being an undergraduate teaching assistant. She is on the PR (personal relations) Team for her sorority, the Outreach Committee from Camp Kesem Clemson, and is also the secretary of AMSA (American Medical Student Association).

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Milan Sheth: A Small Imprint of Change


Milan Sheth is an alumnus of Eastern Mennonite University’s M.A. in Biomedicine program. Milan’s interests are in clinical/academic medicine and global health. He serves as an ambassador for International Service Learning and PreMed STAR. Milan advocates for students to gain experience in medically underserved areas. Milan intends to apply to medical school next year.


My classmates and I traveled to Nicaragua via International Service Learning (ISL).

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Justin Chu: Reflections from Costa Rica

Justin Chu is a third year medical student at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio where he met and married his high school girlfriend. He enjoys outdoor activities as well as playing and watching sports.

y ISL experience in Costa Rica was valuable to me for many reasons. I got to put into practice the clinical skills I learned in my first year of medical school,

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Taeler Kallmerten: The Power of Education

Taeler Kallmerten is an Electronic Media major at Texas State University. Kallmerten is from Houston, Texas and she loves to travel, play soccer and create videos for her YouTube Channel.

In my time spent documenting health clinics in the villages outside the city perimeters of Managua, Nicaragua, I learned one very important thing. I learned about the power of education. The majority of my time in Managua was spent following the two respiratory therapy students on the trip and their professor Sharon Armstead.

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Melissa Francois: The True Meaning of Pura Vida

Melissa Francois currently lives in the “Empire State,” New York. She received both her Bachelors of Science in Human Biology and Masters of Public Health from the University at Albany. In her free time she loves writing, arts & crafts, all things D-I-Y, traveling and learning new languages! She served on a Global Health team with ISL in 2015.

The summer after graduating college, I traveled to Costa Rica as a Global Health Volunteer with International Service Learning.

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Yusra Iftikhar: My Medical Mission Trip to Mexico

For this week’s blog post, we are featuring an article written by Yusra on her blog The DPT Diaries last year about her service learning trip to Mexico. Yusra traveled with International Service Learning to Baja in May 2016, and here she reflects on her trip and the impact it had in her life:

Discovering humility in service.

2-year-old Gabriel* squealed in delight as he lunged for the sunglasses that dangled from my outstretched hand.

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Milan Sheth: Global Health in Nicaragua

After the experience of a lifetime, traveling with ISL and volunteering in Nicaragua, volunteer Milan Sheth has joined our team of Ambassadors to continue sharing ISL’s mission to serve those in need. We touched base with Milan recently to get some insight into what it is about Global Learning that inspires him:

How did you learn about International Service Learning?

Currently, I am a graduate student in Eastern Mennonite University’s (EMU) M.A.

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Outstanding ISL Community Member: Frank Battaglia

McGill University student, Frank Battaglia, has been partnering with ISL to send global health volunteers to serve the health care needs of the Dominican community of El Mangular since 2013. This month we’re honoring him as our Outstanding ISL Community Member, and we’ve reached out to him about his experiences as an ambassador for ISL:

How many ISL teams have you organized/volunteered with?

Since July 2012, I’ve organized 4 teams personally,

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Kelsey Kusch: Nicaragua & Costa Rica Reflection

Kelsey Kusch was a member of our Adrian College Global Health team this winter break and served in both Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Here is an entry from her day-to-day blog of her time with ISL.

Day 8 – Nicaragua

View of the city of Granada and volcano Mambacho

Today was the last day in Nicaragua and it sure was a memorable one. We did a canopy tour through a jungle in Granada,Read more »

Neethu Athimattathil: Mexico Reflections

Neethu Athimattahil was part of a Global Health team last December. We reached out to her to ask her about her experience, and she shared this story with us. 

In December of 2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a service trip with ISL to Baja, Mexico. I was a nervous wreck leading up to my trip, not knowing a single soul on the trip or what to expect once I got there.

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ISL Costa Rica: Making memories

Our day began quite hectic and chaotic filled with flight changes and exhaustion. However, as soon as we landed, the day got exponentially better. We met our group leader, Abdi, and the other three members of our ISL team. After quickly grabbing a bite to eat and exchanging currency, we left the airport to our home for the week – La casa de la Espiritualidad in Alajuela (a city just west of San José).

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Emily Jones: What ISL Volunteers Take Home

Emily Jones, ISL’s Essay Contest Winner, shares how her experience in Costa Rica affected her patient approach at home in Alabama:

My ISL Experience

In my ambition to become a physical therapist, I chose to volunteer with ISL because I felt the unique experience would help me become a stronger candidate for physical therapy school. Although there is no doubt that my trip to Costa Rica has done that, it has also rekindled my passion for helping people in need,

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2013 Photo of the Year Contest Winner: Jessica Munoz

Jessica will receive $1,000 in travel credit to volunteer with ISL again in 2014!

This little girl, Doreen, greeted me with a warm smile every time I saw her. Her curious imagination inspires me to become a doctor who will one day travel back to Tanzania. I thank her for welcoming me but above all I thank her for showing me God’s presence. My ISL experience in Tanzania reminds me that “what we do for ourselves dies with us.

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Purdue University Hike for Humanity Update

Hello again from Team Purdue plus Cristina!

We are all home, safe and sound, and we would like to share our experiences from the second half of the trip, the Hike for Humanity portion. Our group, joined by Andrés Villalobos (ISL Team Leader) and Dr. Jack, Lisa Ann, Cathy, and Mary Beth (the new volunteer members), left for Talamanca bright and early on January 5, and travelled for most of the day to our base camp.

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Purdue University Rings in the New Year in Costa Rica

Hello from Team Purdue (plus Cristina)!! We just brought in the New Year in the best way possible and we thought we should reflect on the amazing trip we’ve had so far.

We arrived at the airport at about 1 in the morning, but that did not put a damper on our enthusiasm and Abdi, our team leader, was still as excited as ever. We immediately went to the hotel to rest for our first day of orientation.

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Jennifer Wootton: Costa Rica Reflection

During the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and work with a wonderful team of individuals whose mission was and still is to grow and learn through helping those who are less fortunate. Little did I know that I was the one who would be transformed by the whole experience.  As we visited the people of La Carpio and Fraijanes, we were able to provide medical care and treatment for many and in doing so,

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We Do Not Have to Wait Until the Next Trip to Make a Difference!

It is not until we embark on a journey so far from home that we realize how much we have and how in debt we are to serve the world surrounding. Far from our comfort zone in a new area we are called to make a difference. I have been on many mission trips but the most memorable experience was in Dominican Republic through ISL. What an awesome responsibility and opportunity it is to travel to another country and be of service to others less privileged.

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Jennifer Lamb: Physical Therapy in Costa Rica

I cannot believe I have been able to gain so much experience as a physical therapist and I could not ask for better people to experience this with. With only 8 girls, we were able to get to know each other and become close friends. For the first 3 days we assisted the PT team at Santiago Crespo Calvo Nursing Home and learned how to use the equipment and got a crash course in Spanish.

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Danielle Eves: A New Way to Travel

“A New Way to Travel” by Danielle Eves

I contemplate the toenail with trepidation. It is the thickest toenail I have ever seen, with a yellow opaque quality indicative of fungus. Upon closer inspection I see it is even too thick for the pair of toenail clippers Sonia has given me. My elderly patient begins to mumble in a thick Jamaican Patois accent, and I can only just make out what she is trying to say.

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Eva Baldisserotto: Tanzania Reflection

I can still remember the feeling I had while sitting in JFK airport awaiting my first flight of the long journey ahead of me before I would arrive at Kilimanjaro Airport. I had no idea what to expect and I could almost already feel a change within myself. There was such a mix of emotions: fear, angst, nervousness… but most of all the excitement. I had never been that far from home for that amount of time on my own,

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Megan Gilchrist: Nicaragua Medical Reflection


ISL provided me with a once in a lifetime opportunity filled with adventure, compassion, and more learning experiences than I could have hoped for. I valued each and every patient that we encountered, implementing skills ranging from the basics of the patient history, to a physical exam, to diagnosing and prescribing the appropriate treatment. I was able to see a community very different from my own and treasured the associated adventures from a quinceanera,

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Jamie Lagrange: Dominican Republic & Haiti Reflection

ISL was an overall amazing experience. Between working in clinics, hands on experience with doctors, visiting homes in Dominican Republic and Haiti, trying local food, and a day on the Caribbean beach, ISL was the perfect mixture of the type of trip I was seeking. Throughout the trip, I meet so many wonderful people, including the ISL staff and other students I worked with during the week. This experience has opened my eyes to so many things and I would recommend it to anyone!

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Joy Archie: Mexico Medical Reflection


Favorite memory from trip:

It’s hard to pick one moment as the ‘best.’ Being able to spend 10 days with a group of people who are such good hearted people is in itself special. Anyone who is going on a trip like this has to have their heart in the right place. In such a short amount of time we learned such valuable information that will be pertinent in our future health care careers.

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