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Melanie Byler

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Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
2016
Home Institution: 
Waynesburg University
Heinz Programming Area: 
Children, youth, and Families
Study Abroad Country: 
India
International Experience

Melanie Byler had the incredible opportunity to participate in a healthcare exposure program centered on India's healthcare system. Four weeks were spent in the rural town of Malavli where the rural healthcare setting was observed. After that, Melanie transitioned to living in the urban city of Mumbai and observing the healthcare system there for four weeks as well. Throughout the program, Melanie got to observe various types of surgery including brain surgeries and orthopedic surgeries. She also got to observe various out-patient department settings. In these settings, Melanie studied the doctor-patient relationships and how they differed from setting to setting and from country to country. Melanie also observed the differences between rural and urban healthcare and between western and eastern medicine. A highlight of the program was spending a week on a mobile health van. The van traveled to more than 14 different rural villages. Melanie had the opportunity to assist with the patient care while on the van and was invited to have chai with various local villagers. Another highlight of the program was a week spent with a pediatric occupational therapist during which, Melanie observed the therapist work with cerebral palsy patients and children with autism. Traveling was always an adventure for Melanie. When she was in Malavli she rode the train each day to the hospital and while in Mumbai, she hauled a rickshaw each day. Along with over 180 hours of observation, Melanie also enjoyed sight-seeing and immersing herself into the Indian culture. She visited various historical monuments including the Taj Mahal.

Community Engagement Experience
CEE Title: 
Hard Conversations: Addressing the ‘ism’

Our CEE was called Hard Conversations: Addressing the ‘Isms’.  It was a practical approach to addressing the hard issues in our community and country. We held the event on our college campus and challenged students to think realistically about the problems surrounding their community and country. There were six different stations held throughout the event. Each station focused on a different issue or ‘ism’. The different issues that were presented on were terrorism, tourism, poverty, sexism, domestic violence, and racism. At each station, facts were given about the relevancy of the issue in our community and in the country where we studied abroad. After the facts were given, we provided practical, feasible ways to help or address the issues in our community. In this way, we tried to empower the students who participated in the event. The event lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes. Refreshments from the various countries we studied abroad in were provided. 

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