Andrea is a first generation college student and transferred to UCSD from San Diego Mesa College, where she received an Associates in Pre-Nursing. She is a proud Latina and a member of Chicanos for Community Medicine on campus. Andrea spent three weeks with ELI (Experiential Learning International) Abroad, a non-profit organization that partners with small humanitarian and environmental organizations without the means to recruit volunteers.
Andrea worked at the Kausay Wasi Clinic in the small town of Coya, Peru. Her day began with opening the triage room, greeting patients, and preparing the examination room. Andrea would then shadow the doctors and help them with their examinations. In between patients, she had the opportunity to ask the doctor questions about the particular case or the healthcare in Peru.
“My last week there, the clinic held a gynecology campaign, where American doctors flew in for a week to provide free services. I assisted with translation for the doctors, and had the opportunity to assist in surgeries as well. Throughout the three weeks, the doctors did an amazing job at coaching me through new experiences and gave me room to try new things.”
Andrea found that the biggest challenge was feeling homesick. Her time with ELI was the first instance in which she had traveled outside of the country by herself. Although a difficult transition, Andrea fondly remembers how her host family was able to provide her with the support and care she needed to help her feel like she belonged.
Ultimately, Andrea believes that her firsthand experiences in Peru taught her valuable lessons she wouldn’t have otherwise learned within a classroom. For this reason, Andrea is extremely thankful for all that the doctors imparted to her.
“The doctors gave me some great pieces of advice as I continue my educational career: they key to being a successful doctor is the ability to empathize with your patients; treat each one as if they're your mother, father, sibling, or child. Our job is to bring peace of mind to patients.”
Experiential Learning International (ELI) is a non-profit organization that creates volunteer, internship, and study abroad opportunities for the globally-minded. ELI partners with local organizations to provide international internships in various fields including education, conservation, health care, law, business, media/communications, development and humanitarian work. Internships are created on an individual basis and are designed to develop the participant's skills in their profession. Volunteers are given the opportunity to work in regions such as Central America, South America, Western Europe, South Asia, Eastern Africa, and Southern Africa.