Uganda: Alysia Vang

Photo of Alysia Vang
Alysia (center) with women from the Child Care and Youth Empowerment Foundation.

Program: UW Mobile Clinics & Health Care, Summer

Alysia’s Major: Genetics

Academic Life: This program consisted mainly of hands-on learning in the community through mobile clinics, discussions with community members, and visits to community organizations.

Advice for Someone Considering Study Abroad: Be prepared to get lost–literally. It was my first time flying alone and my first time abroad and I got stuck in Amsterdam because my flight from Chicago was delayed, causing me to miss my other two flights. My luggage was also lost. I had to learn quickly how to adapt to my situation and although it was a headache, I arrived in Uganda and absolutely loved the program. Keep in mind that any hassle that happens beforehand won’t end up mattering.

Fieldwork Experience: My program’s fieldwork component gave me experience abroad working with different populations, which will help me become a better physician because physicians typically work with a variety of patients. In the mobile clinics where we worked, sometimes the patients did not speak English, so we had to find other ways to communicate. I also learned the importance of community-based work, and plan to incorporate this in my future work in medicine.

Why Uganda? It is invaluable to immerse yourself in a culture different from your own. You learn to appreciate different cultures and the diversity that exists in the world. In the days before I left Uganda, I realized I was not ready to leave and that Uganda had really become a second home. I plan to return in the future.

“Uganda is a beautiful country filled with incredibly welcoming people.”