Briana Zaharko

International Experience Country:
Costa Rica
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Waynesburg University

Heinz Programming Area:
Study Abroad Country: Costa Rica Cohort Year: 2019 Home Institution: Waynesburg University Programming Area: Learning
International Experience Summary:

Briana Zaharko traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica where she had the amazing opportunity to study holistic healthcare and the Spanish language with a focus for healthcare professionals. Briana stayed in Costa Rica for five weeks and spent a lot of time inside and outside of the classroom expanding her knowledge. Briana learned some of the many different holistic health approaches and compared them to Western Medicine; focusing on comparing the healthcare systems of the United States and Costa Rica. She also got to attend a workshop with her class to learn about multiple types of herbal medicine, how to make them, and conditions they help cure. For four of the five weeks, Briana got to learn the basics of the Spanish language applied specifically for a healthcare professional. The class was taught only in Spanish, so Briana was forced to learn fast and fully dedicate herself to the class. Throughout her time in the class she went from knowing only a few Spanish words to being able to form complete sentences and hold a short conversation. Briana gave presentations in Spanish, preformed scripted simulations without the script, and even got to perform a nurse simulation with a local Costa Rican. Not only did Briana have the opportunity to expand her knowledge, but she also got to expand her confidence and her appreciation of nature and relationships; which occurred outside of the classroom. Briana had the amazing opportunity to live with a host family for the five weeks, which gave her the ability to be fully immersed in the culture. With her family, she formed a close relationship, conversed in Spanish, ate homemade Costa Rican cuisine every day for breakfast and dinner, and learned the traditions of her Costa Rican family. Briana also made close friendships with the other students and locals. She made friendships that will last a lifetime. She also had the opportunity to explore the beautiful mountains, rainforests, and beaches of Costa Rica, which gave her a greater appreciation for nature. Briana fell in love with the country and hopes to return in the future to visit her host family and explore more of their culture.  

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: The WE in Wellness: A Global Approach to Wellness 

Our CEE was titled “The WE in Wellness: A Global Approach on Wellness.” The goal of our CEE was to bring awareness to the 8 types of wellness and focus them on how our host country viewed that area of wellness. Each member of our team focused on what area of wellness matched best with what information or concept from our country impacted us the most. The information and areas of wellness that we addressed at our CEE were: healthy eating habits versus unhealthy eating habits inspired by London; social wellness and poverty inspired by South Africa; reducing waste and recycling waste inspired by Australia; using holistic and alternative medicine in our lives inspired by Costa Rica; domestic violence inspired by India; and natural remedies of health and living inspired by Belize. We set our CEE up like a wellness fair, meaning we had multiple tables set up that attendees could freely go to at any time during our event. Each member of our group had a table, but we also had tables for multiple clubs and organizations in our community. Having these clubs and organizations truly helped us “think globally and act locally.” Our goal was to take the information we learned in our countries and bring that into our tables and our whole CEE. Having the clubs and organizations allowed us to really apply our global information, locally. In order to encourage attendees to attend the tables of our countries, we passed out “passports” that would get stamped if they attended our table. Those passports were put into a raffle at the end for a chance to win eco-friendly products. Overall, the purpose of our CEE was to inform the Waynesburg community on the insights we were given in our country in hopes that they would feel encouraged and want to apply the information to their daily lives.