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Nicolette Carlos improved her Spanish and shadowed physicians with ECELA in South America

Nicolette is a second year transfer student in the Global Health Program who is is passionate about traveling, learning, and immersing herself within different cultures. She is currently a board member for two different student orgs on campus: PERIOD. at UCSD where she serves as the External Outreach and Service Chair, and the Students for Global Health where she is the Vice President of Events and plans all our amazing Quarterly Conversations in Global Health events!

During the summer of 2018, Nicolette spent 9 weeks in Argentina, Chile, and Peru with the ECELA Spanish & Medicine Abroad Program. She spent time shadowing physicians in various clinics and hospitals, mainly in Chile and Peru. In Chile Nicolette worked in a Gastroenterology/Nutrition clinic where she sat in on consultations and patient follow-ups with the surgeon, and was even able to shadow a patient’s surgery!

Hospital in Cusco, Peru

In Cusco, Peru Nicolette also shadowed physicians and nurses through clinical and patient rotations. For each shadowing session the students visited different departments of the hospital such as pediatrics, infectious disease, intensive care unit, rheumatology, etc… They also shadowed with local university medical students who were completing their trainings/practicals.

"Being able to shadow in two different countries with two very distinct levels of income and health systems it was clear to see the huge differences in health in these countries. I was able to meet a lot of lifelong friends throughout my trip who came from very different cultures and backgrounds than me. I also met a lot of amazing local people, many of whom were not originally from the host country I was staying in – such as Venezuelans who had migrated to these countries due to the current state of their home country. Learning about these health challenges in the Latin American region has led me to write about it for my senior thesis capstone project."

When she wasn’t working, Nicolette spent her free time exploring each of the host cities throughout the weekday. On weekends she was able to take various day/weekend trips outside of the city to other cities or countries! These include: Colonia in Uruguay, Valparaíso in Chile, and Machupicchu, Rainbow Mountain, and Valle Sagrado all outside Cusco, Peru.

Nicolette recommends this program to other global health students and is even using her experience to write her Global Health senior thesis:

"The experiences I gained and what I learned about health in South America has motivated me to write about Global Health Diplomacy in Latin America. I wanted my research to focus on ways to address current health crises like in Venezuela, and also how to overall improve health outcomes in Latin American countries, which I think not only involves health and foreign policy, but the entire global community. My Field Experience and Senior Capstone has also shaped my future career goals, which I hope to get into Global Health policy and work throughout the Latin American region."
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