Now that I have been back home for a bit my journeys in Nicaragua seem more distant. While there I hiked volcanoes, searched for monkeys, and communicated in another language for two weeks. Here in my normal day to day life I go to work, pay bills, and grab Arby’s during happy hour. At times I find it hard to believe that a matter of days ago I was taking boat tours around Lake Managua or observing an electrocardiogram being performed in the clinic.
My experience abroad has reaffirmed my desires to continue my career path in medicine, and to continue to pursue mission and volunteer opportunities abroad, particularly in Latin America. I have also decided that I need more tutelage in Spanish, quite a bit more in fact. I have registered for another Spanish course for the fall semester, and am taking advantage of opportunities to further progress my lingual ability. While working in the clinic my eyes were opened somewhat to the different methods and rules by which healthcare practice operates in places outside the United States. I realize in some aspects our way of doing things is not always the only way, or even the best way perhaps. The biggest lesson that I took away was the need for an open and objective mind about new and different ways to accomplish the same basic goals.
If you are considering studying abroad my biggest piece of advice would be to just go for it! Here at UA there are so many opportunities to have meaningful experiences abroad, and even if the cost or time commitments seem out of reach do not give up. There are great scholarship opportunities to help financially, and if you really pour your heart into your study abroad experience you will come away a more knowledgeable person with wonderful memories and lessons to carry with you through life. When I arrived on campus I never considered studying abroad, but after changing career paths a few dozen times, taking some new and somewhat “out there” classes, and opening my mind to valuable opportunities I have had my Study Abroad adventure and loved it. Keep your mind open and your eye out for what might just be a life changing experience through Study Abroad.