Immersion Program

Medical Volunteer Opportunities Abroad

Four young boys stand in the Caribbean sea in a row while holding wood carvings in their arms

The Floating Doctors Immersion Program is a week-long program designed for small groups who are interested in learning about the remote healthcare setting, experiencing a unique culture, and challenging themselves in ways that will  transform them for life. A primary goal of the Immersion Program is encouraging global thinking, international cultural and travel competence, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of other cultures and environments. 

Five medical volunteers wearing lifejackets sit in a boat in the foreground, while a large group of people standing on a dock in a jungle village watch the boat

During the program, Immersion participants will spend 1-2 days learning firsthand what goes into running a remote medical operation, including the many challenges that come with working in a tropical island community. When possible, Immersion Participants will join our ongoing mobile medical clinics. Participants will also engage with the children in the communities, sharing information on hygiene and handing out supplies, or playing sports (soccer and volleyball are very popular in the Ngäbe communities.)

While Immersion Program participants do assist the regular volunteers with running the medical clinics, they also partake in several additional activities intended to introduce them to aspects of the local culture and environment. This may include guided tours, working with the local Sea Turtle Conservatory, visiting a neighboring active farm, and working with the local reef restoration.  Participants will also have the opportunity to go on a few relaxing excursions, such as a snorkeling or a guided chocolate farm tour.

A young boy, a young girl, and their grandmother sit in front of their traditional thatched roof home with their carved wood cayuco boat, fishing nets, and chickens.

Although we are primarily a healthcare organization operating in a Spanish-speaking country, we don’t require that our immersion participants have any working experience or language ability. Just bring a can-do attitude, an adventurous spirit, and a desire to help out where needed. We’re careful to ensure that no one is matched with an activity that falls outside their skill level, though we invite everyone to challenge themselves, and we provide ample learning opportunities along the way.

We welcome student groups and have designed a variety of resources to maximize the educational benefit of  our program, including pre-trip and post-trip assignments. We also encourage a nightly reflection where  participants can share what they have experienced and how it has made them feel. If you would like to focus the trip around a particular learning outcome, we would be happy to discuss how we can best accommodate this.

A speedboat full of medical volunteers travels through Caribbean waters on a sunny day with the jungle in the distance,

We can only host one group at a time with a minimum of 10 participants and a maximum of 20 participants. Additionally, we require that underage participants be accompanied by an adult chaperone. This means that we could host a group of 9-13 students with 1 adult chaperone or a group of 14-18 students with 2 adult chaperones. Every group will be accompanied by two Floating Doctors staff as well throughout the entirety of their program. For more information, please contact us at volunteerinfo@floatingdoctors.com.