Kayla Chee

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Oakland

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Kayla Chee traveled to Karagwe, Tanzania where she worked on an independent research project. This project focused on Physical Therapy in Karagwe, looking at common conditions and treatment techniques at Nyakahanga Hospital. As part of her research project, she spent most of her time shadowing a physiotherapist, Dr. Wilson Rwamugata. During this time, she saw Dr. Wilson offer therapy to patients with a wide range of conditions from paralysis problems (paraplegia/hemiplegia), to backaches, to fractures. She saw him treat in-patients, out-patients, as well as went on home visits with him. When Dr. Wilson wasn't seeing patients, Kayla and Dr. Wilson would go for morning tea where they would discuss differences in American and Tanzanian culture, her career goals, and his family and past education. In addition to shadowing Dr. Wilson, she went on many cultural excursions, going on a mobile clinic, visiting schools, and visiting nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) focusing on issues such as HIV/AIDS, community-based rehabilitation, and development. When not working on research and sitting in lectures, Kayla played in soccer games with hospital students, attended a bridal send-off party, learned how to make mandazi (an African doughnut), and her personal favorite, learned a Tahitian dance at an African wedding reception.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

The University of Pittsburgh has a large community of international students, especially Chinese, who have difficulty adjusting and acclimating to American culture. Experiencing the challenges of transition in a foreign country, our CEE team empathized with Pitt’s international students. We wanted to create a CEE dedicated to their cultural immersion. Our CEE was called The Diverse Dimensions Dinner Series—a program focused on enhancing the quality of relativity between Chinese international and American domestic students. To achieve this goal, participants shared cultural and personal experiences, identified the cultural and personal values manifested in their actions, and explored communication types that impact relationship building. Our participants consisted of 10 Chinese students and 10 American students. The CEE was covered in a three-series funded dinner, each dinner having the time length of 90 minutes consisting of interactive large group activities, small group activities, and small group in-depth discussions. The CEE team of Brittany Reyes, Jessica Collins, Sanaa Ahmed, and Kayla Chee facilitated all activities and discussions. The project finished successfully with great reviews from students and many students are now friends because of this experience. We were able to establish bonds between people who never would have met without Diverse Dimensions. We are very proud of this accomplishment, and we are excited that we have reached our objective. Current works are in process for sustaining this program for next year 2014 – 2015.