So, everyone, plans have changed. They’ve been in motion now since September, but now that everything is official I think I should explain!
I’m leaving Peru in January. Instead I will be going to Ecuador to take part in an internship for eight weeks in Quito and Puyo. I’ll be interning with the NGO Child Family Health International and taking part in their program for pre-med or in my case, pre-public health undergrads and graduate students. I’ll have the amazing opportunity to accompany health professionals in their clinical rotations in the morning, take Spanish classes in the afternoon, and live with a host family yet again in Quito for five weeks, visiting neighboring clinics and hospitals. Then, for three weeks I’m leaving for the Amazon jungle to do a different but similar program focused on indigenous health and alternative medicine, living with a host family again and hiking around the jungle in rubber boots, learning about the different communities that live there and what health issues they face.
There is a lot to explain, but I think that covers the basics. In order to keep my student status I am also taking part in the Worldwide Internship program through the UW Study Abroad office, where I’ll be part of a group of students around the world taking an online class together and sharing our internship experiences. Additionally, I’m going to do an independent study for three credits with a supervisor. That way, I’ll be earning six credits and my financial aid status, etc. won’t change.
You ask, of course: Why the switch? Well, truth is that I’d been hoping to find an internship since I left the states, as after my global health trip to Nepal and my time here I’ve realized the best way I learn is through direct experience, versus learning in a classroom. It was difficult to look for internships in the US before I even knew what was available. This experience will also be great for my resume and will also provide a good way to explore what I’d like to do in the future.
I also realized that any credits I take next semester at PUCP won’t really do much to count towards my major—they will count, but not in places where I need them. If I planned everything right, I think the only classes I need to graduate have to be taken on campus since they are specific and not available elsewhere. I also realized that due to my level of Spanish (I’m really trying to improve!) I can’t take the level of classes here like I really want to. It is so difficult to participate in class when trying to take notes in Spanish, listen to the teacher, and absorb what other students are taking.
And finally, it was just so tempting to see another country while I’m in South America. I’ve learned so much here in Peru, and I certainly have not seen it all, but being on campus and only travelling on weekends didn’t feel right for another semester.
Three more weeks of classes and then exams! I’ve got a lot to read, but my reading abilities in Spanish have definitely become more efficient!