In short, it is because I love adventure. I love exploring the unknown. I love challenging myself. I love proving others wrong. I love learning from those who are different than me.
When I was deciding where to study abroad, I came across many nay sayers when I mentioned traveling to India. I was told I should go somewhere else, like Europe. I was told India is a dreadful place and I shouldn’t even consider it. I was told to just stay in America — why would anyone want to leave?
I chose not to listen to those people. I wanted to experience a part of the world most people will never travel to. I wanted to see beauty where others only believe there to be destruction and poverty. I wanted to learn from other cultures, because one country doesn’t hold all the answers. I didn’t want my study abroad experience to be a semester I visited wineries in France or learned to cook in Italy. I wanted it to be an experience that would propel me forward as I try to achieve my goals.
The program I chose in Hyderabad, India is allowing me to learn about healthcare practices and techniques used here, specifically Ayurveda. I believe the best medical care can happen when western medicine and eastern medicine work together. I want to one day be a physician providing healthcare to those who need it most, both in the United States and in other countries. This experience is giving me a taste of what it will be like if I choose to service in another country for an extended period of time.
I am being immersed in a culture completely different from what I was raised in. This will help prepare me to be flexible when unforeseen scenarios occur in the hospital. I will understand my future patients in a more compassionate way as I try to place myself in their shoes.
This content was contributed by Bethany Harting, who spent her spring semester studying abroad with AIFS in Hyderabad, India.