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MedLife
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Savannah Ellison

Major: Psychology (Neuroscience)
Minor: Biology
Hometown: Easton, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I went to my advisers and found out which programs are best suited to fit my schedule. Afterwards, I went to the Penn State Education Abroad office and met with another adviser. I then went to the science involvement fair held and found out about this program's chapter on campus.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I flew out to Peru, where I stayed in a hotel in the center of Cuzco. During the time that I spent there I shadowed doctors, took patient information, and taught kids about hygiene and general health. Many of the kids did not even know how to brush their teeth, so I spent two days teaching groups of kids and handing out free toothbrushes and toothpaste. When I was shadowing the OBGYN, I was able to learn how to do a breast exam on patients and helped her complete pap smears. At triage, I wrote down general patient info and any symptoms that they were experiencing. There was a dentist whom I assisted in filling cavities and a station where I tested glucose levels to detect diabetes.

This experience allowed to me gain hands on experience treating patients and applying my knowledge to real life situations. I also learned how to immerse myself in another culture and try the different foods, clothes, and music.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience allowed to me gain hands on experience treating patients and applying my knowledge to real life situations. I also learned how to immerse myself in another culture and try the different foods, clothes, and music. I was able to enhance my Spanish speaking skills, and learned the Spanish terms for medical terms that were not taught in my general language classes. I learned about how the healthcare system differs from the one I am used to and the social issues that the citizens of Peru are struggling with.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After graduation, my goal is to apply to a graduate program to become a Physician Assistant. I am already in the process of volunteering at hospitals and shadowing physicians so that I can be completely sure that this is the path that I wish to take. With my study abroad experience, I learned that there are many issues going on in the world that we Americans do not know or hear about, and that makes me want to become successful in the healthcare field in order to go abroad and help out in the countries that need more healthcare professionals.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would highly recommend this experience to any student who wants to expand their world view and help people along the way.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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