Senior Sierra Stahl studied abroad through the Child Family Health International (CFHI) Ecuador program during summer 2023.
I wanted to study abroad for many reasons. Primarily, I wanted to immerse myself in the language and culture to enhance my Spanish language skills. I have an interest in global health and in the future I want to be bilingual in my profession. Therefore, it was important for me to explore global health in Ecuador and witness it firsthand through shadowing and learning the medical terminology in Spanish. This experience allowed me to observe and understand the healthcare system and the health disparities that exist. I also wanted to go abroad to push myself out of my comfort zone and broaden my global perspective.
Exploring Quito, trying delicious local foods, and engaging in activities like salsa dancing was so fun and such a great experience. Every day brought new encounters and interactions with diverse individuals, which broadened my perspective. Also, the breathtaking landscapes, such as the Quilotoa Lake or the Mindo Cloud Rainforest. Seeing these places and going on excursions every weekend definitely made the experience truly unforgettable.
My experience abroad in Ecuador taught me a lot about both myself and the world around me. Personally, I discovered that I am capable of embracing new challenges and adapting to unfamiliar environments. I learned to appreciate the opportunities and privileges I have even more in my life. Witnessing the healthcare disparities and contrasting healthcare systems made me more aware of the challenges faced by communities around the world. This experience deepened my understanding of the significance of ensuring equitable healthcare access for all.
To me, being a global citizen means recognizing our interconnectedness with the world and understanding that our actions can have big impacts. This means embracing diversity, cultural understanding and empathy towards individuals from different backgrounds. A global citizen actively seeks to learn about different cultures, customs and different perspectives with respect and an open mind. We should embrace cross-cultural experiences and actively try to make the world a better place!