In July, 12 students participated in West Coast University’s Global Public Health program, which visited Costa Rica for two weeks of the course.
During the trip, four students from the WCU campuses in Los Angeles, Orange County and Dallas, had the opportunity to examine public health issues that impact health in the U.S. and Costa Rica, along with the roles of Nurses in the delivery of healthcare in both locations. WCU partners with UNIBE, a Costa Rican organization, to coordinate the clinical experience for students and CHOC Children’s had two Nurse Ambassadors on this journey to support clinical oversight. The trip is an immersion experience that includes Spanish language study and joint educational presentations. Students also visited a coffee plantation, volcano reserve, and museum of natural history.
Several students shared their experiences with traveling abroad and the profound impact it had on them:
“This global health experience challenged me and made me want to strive to be the best nurse I can in the future.” Madison Christ
“This trip definitely made me a better person, but I also think that being there and how things work in the healthcare systems in Costa Rica was so eye opening in so many ways and that this will make me a much better nurse as well going forward.” Caroline Day
“This trip was a great experience that I will always remember. I came back home with a lot of memories, new friendships, and new respect for the Costa Rican healthcare system. Prevention is key to living a healthy future.” Maureen Huaringa
“It was one of the most exhausting two weeks I’ve ever had, but it was worth every second. I would highly recommend that every single student applies for Global Public Health at WCU because it is an opportunity and experience of a lifetime.” Emily Jones
“My trip to Costa Rica has given me a purpose as a nurse, to help to the best of my ability to bring quality health care to the elderly population. What I found was that Costa Rica and its people changed me more than I changed them.” Teresa Plumlee
“I have gained so many new memories, experiences, and relationships that I value very deeply. What I can truly say is the expectations I had before the trip were far exceeded in every way.” Tina Rajabi
“By having this amazing experience and with the knowledge that I gained, I think that I will be able to use this with my patients in the future by having more cultural competence and more of an open mind about different cultures.” Alexandra Talib
“I think the biggest takeaway from this experience for me is that a little compassion goes a long way. This experience will certainly have a long-lasting effect on the way that I perceive and treat my future patients.” Helen Tsaur
“Having had the opportunity to learn while abroad in a culture that I’m interested in has been life changing. As nurses, we want to be the best for our patients and this means not just being a competent nurse, but being a proficient nurse.” Miles Tuttle
“My overall experience in Costa Rica for the Global Public Health experience was that of great pride, overwhelming appreciation towards the people that inhabit this great nation, and great admiration for the healthcare professionals that allowed us to be among them throughout our entire experience.” Andres C. Villatoro