Allison Doe, BSN Class of 2012, spent Fall semester of her sophomore year in Santiago, Chile. Allison’s enthusiasm for learning from, and working with, people in other nations is clear…
My name is Allison Doe, I am a nursing student at the University of Maine with a strong passion for traveling. Dr. Fishwick of the UMaine Nursing program, asked that I share some of my experiences from South America with my fellow Nursing students.
Before I begin, I thought I’d build a bit of context for all who are interested.
The summer after high school graduation, I boarded an airplane to Ecuador. My plan was to live eight months in Quito, exchanging families with an Ecuadorian student (who I now consider my sister), take classes at the university, and do a bit of sightseeing. I was a young 18 year old from a small Maine town who had no idea what I was walking into.
Ecuador impacted me deeply on many levels. I fell in love with its beauty, energy and hospitality. To this day I wake up every morning thinking of tree-ripened mangos and the colors of the Amazon after a rainfall.
As beautiful as I found the country, the poverty in Quito made a permanent impression on me. One afternoon, after watching a stirring news segment from the emergency room of Children’s Hospital Baca Ortiz, I decided to jump on board with the Damas Voluntarias, a volunteer group based out of the hospital.
At the end of my first day of work, pressing both palms on the room divider to keep from fainting in the surgical unit, I studied the faces of the children in front of me. It was precisely that moment at which I decided to study nursing.
So here I am, at the University of Maine.
Through a direct exchange with UMaine’s Study Abroad program, I had the opportunity to study in Santiago, Chile, in Fall semester 2009. In Santiago I worked with the Chilean Red Cross interviewing immigrants for their research project on a new approach to health education. The people I encountered have only solidified my love for the field of nursing.
Image Description: Allison Doe