Kayla Soltis

Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
Home Institution: 
University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown
Heinz Programming Area: 
Children, youth, and Families
Study Abroad Country: 
International Experience

Kayla Soltis spent 6 weeks in a beautiful city named Cochabamba located in Bolivia. While abroad, she spent a lot of time in a school for the blind that also provides services for children with other disabilities. Kayla made some great friends with both the staff and the students as she helped in the classrooms with Occupational Therapy. Not only did she learn Spanish but she also learned how to read and write Braille. The school needed more materials such as books and worksheets in braille for the children so Kayla emailed many organizations in the United States until she found an organization willing to donate a braille printer. The school invited her to a huge mother’s day celebration where they taught Kayla Bolivian dances and made her a homecooked Bolivian dish. Because she spent a lot of time in a community with mental disabilities, Kayla was very interested in how the society views mental illness in Bolivia. Through many interviews, conversations, and research, she was able to learn about the culture, society, and specifically their views related to mental health. Besides diving into the community and service-learning, Kayla hiked up a mountain into the clouds, visited the breathtaking salt flats, and climbed through the amazon rainforest with the monkeys!

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