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Kristina Faupel

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Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
2016
Home Institution: 
University of Pittsburgh-Bradford
Heinz Programming Area: 
Environment
Study Abroad Country: 
Austria
International Experience

Kristina Faupel studied abroad in Graz, Austria where she learned more about the Austrian healthcare system along with observing how they treated ill and injured people. Because she did not know German before going abroad, she was a little nervous and quickly learned that it is difficult to immerse yourself in a culture when you don’t understand their language, so she quickly began learning German. Being able to communicate in German was not only exciting for her, but it helped to gain a respect between her and the Austrians. While abroad, she spent the majority of her time in the city of Graz. The residents primarily use bicycles, buses, and walking for transportation. Kristina also observed that the Austrians don’t really eat processed foods or microwavable meals. The vendors on the street offer fresh breads, fruits, vegetables, and meats. These small stands are always packed with people.   During her visits to different medical facilities, Kristina was able to see that with a Universal Healthcare System, everyone is taken care of who needs help. This is possible because their government uses taxes from their citizens to pay for healthcare. Some people like the system while others do not; this preference typically depends on income level. She also visited several hospitals, along with homeless shelters, nursing homes, and centers for disabled children. During her four weeks in Austria, she learned that many citizens could not survive without such a system. Kristina also realized how unique every single person is and how each person needs their own individual treatment.  In Austria, they are not as willing to let observers watch a lot of procedures due to their laws, but some places were very open with their facilities. For example, one of Kristina’s favorite moments was in the anatomy building at the University of Graz. The professor allowed Kristina’s group into the basement where they do all of the autopsies and have the cadavers. It was an overwhelming feeling for her to see the entire process of what they do with the donated bodies in order to learn from and preserve them.  She is looking forward to this opportunity again in graduate school. These learning opportunities and realizations wouldn’t have been so clear to her without this opportunity awarded to her by the Vira Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership. Kristina is excited to spread the knowledge that she gained while abroad.

Community Engagement Experience
CEE Title: 
Fabrications in Films and Shows

Our CEE was called Fabrications in Films and Shows in which we discussed a variety of different stereotypes around the world. We chose about six different videos and had a slide to go with each video about the stereotype the audience just watched. After viewing the video we had discussions amongst the tables asking their opinions on the stereotype. During the CEE we all realized that everyone has a different opinion when they think of certain stereotypes and we were able to address that. We fortunately had a great audience who was willing to speak up about their thoughts along with everyone listening to one another. We chose this CEE because we thought it was important to bring what we experienced during our study abroad back to the community. Each one of my partners including myself had an encounter dealing with a stereotype and it wasn’t a good memory to any of us. We realized that it was important to share those thoughts with our campus and community and maybe start eliminating these stereotypes. While discussing these topics it was brought to our attention that most people just go along with these stereotypes and laugh about them. By the end of our CEE we shared that if we heard a stereotype we would try to say something so that others know those topics are not to be joked about. It is also somewhat hard to do this in a small community when TV shows and movies being played around the world show these stereotypes all the time in a degrading way. My partners and I believe that we did make an impact on our audience and that stereotypes need to be looked at in a more serious way. 

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