The summer between first and second year is the last summer vacation you will ever have without any obligations. There is no requirement for you to do absolutely anything; that being said, as WashU students, we are lucky to have a myriad of wonderful opportunities that many students take advantage of. I am most excited about the Summer Opportunities Abroad Program (SOAP). SOAP is a fund that allows first year medical students to engage in research or clinical opportunities abroad. Students have the freedom to arrange their own experiences or join one of the WashU faculty who do research abroad and routinely take students with them. Students are encouraged to start connecting with potential research or clinical mentors during first semester because applications for SOAP are due early second semester (usually mid-January).
I enjoy research and want to play a role in advancing this critical pillar of medicine. However, I felt too busy to be an active lab member during the school year, so I want to use my time off this summer to fully engage in a public health research project. Furthermore, I love traveling and learning about the cultures, languages, and lifestyles of people from around the world. Through the SOAP program I’ll be able to combine both these passions— immerse myself in a new environment while working on a compelling research question.