Trina Van


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Bio Summary
Cohort Year: 
Home Institution: 
Temple University
Heinz Programming Area: 
Economic Opportunity
Study Abroad Country: 
International Experience

Trina Van spent six weeks in Mérida, Mexico in a "Medical Spanish and Public Health in the Yucatán" program. For the first time in her life, she placed herself in a Spanish-only world, even taking her first class in strictly Spanish! She got to know the names of various symptoms and diseases and learned about traditional ways to cure them using herb-based creams, acupuncture, meditation, physical therapy, and more. Along with that, she visited archaeological excavations of Mayan ruins to understand the ancient culture prevalent in the Yucatán, as many Mexicans are bilingual in Spanish and Maya, and even speak a slower Spanish because of the ancient culture's influence. Trina also toured hospitals and traditional clinics to get an understanding of how the Mexican public health care system affects its citizens in terms of quality of care and cost. She highlighted the cultural influence on the most common causes of death in the Yucatán in her class research. For nearly a week, she also had the opportunity to visit Cuba. Given so much free time, she spoke to many local residents to try to understand the effect of communism on the health care system there. During her time, not only did she see the many privileges that US American citizens have, but she also immersed herself in a culture of familial values and very good salbutes.

Community Engagement Experience
CEE Title: 
Addressing The Three C’s: Culture, Community, and Collaboration

A panel of Philadelphia educators spoke about the importance of accessibility to culture, community, and collaboration in the area. These "3 C's" are accessible, but Temple students are ignorant of their presence, forcing sharp divides between Temple University and the surrounding community. A Temple graduate, born and raised in Philadelphia, wrote an article concerning the community's "rage [that] comes with exclusion" in the area. The author, Solomon Jones, addressed his viewpoint that students need to expose themselves to the culture and community around them. Only with acceptance and immersion can collaboration be genuine and mutually beneficial. The audience was challenged: the idea of what the North Philadelphia community wants is one thing, but asking its members wht it truly wants is a completely different thing. Afterwards, roundtable discussion ensued about how we could individually contribute to solutions. We spoke about experiences with cultural disconnect, and how it related to attending an urban university. Participants produced tangible personal goals to improve understanding of and collaborations with the community. We found concrete ways to promote and share culture in our classrooms and workplaces. best of all, among participants, connections were made to continue this conversation in community-involved events in the future.

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