Emily Schafer

International Experience Country:
Costa Rica
Cohort Year:
2021
Home Institution:

Waynesburg University

Heinz Programming Area:
Learning
Bio:
Emily Schafer is a Junior Nursing major at Waynesburg University. As an active student, she is involved in many different aspects of Waynesburg’s community including serving as a Resident Assistant, playing on the Varsity Softball team, and participating as a committee chairperson on the Student Activities Board. Emily’s upbringing in a small town influenced her to apply to the Vira I. Heinz Program in order to have an opportunity to grow as an individual and learn about healthcare through the lens of a different culture. This experience will help her to serve as a more effective and culturally competent nurse as well as opening potential international career opportunities in the future. More than anything, the personal  growth and relational impact on Emily will influence her and the people she interacts with for the rest of her life.
International Experience Summary:

Emily Schafer studied virtually through a University in San Jose, Costa Rica for four weeks. She studied holistic health approaches which focused on traditional, complementary, and alternative methods of health care. Emily was able to learn about the history leading up to the current healthcare system in Costa Rica as well as many of the approaches that the country uses today. She also learned about other health care around the world including Westernized medicine and compared them to each other. Emily also learned about the stigmas associated with traditional, complementary, and alternative health practices and ways to end that stigma in one’s own life. Though she could not attend the field trips, she was able to hear and learn about the places which the class attended and see pictures of the different facilities that practice different types of health care. Emily also attended two virtual workshops, one of which focused on creating concoctions of herbal medicines to care for health ailments. The other workshop focused on meditation and yoga for health.

Emily was able to grow in her understanding of available complimentary, traditional, and alternative medicines that were available outside of America. She was also able to transform her own thinking throughout her experience to better understand and be more open to different ways of thinking. Not only is she now able to recognize areas of concern in her own life related to health, but she can also see flaws in our own health care system. Emily will be better able to advocate for more sustainable health care practices by integrating her new knowledge about holistic practices. The virtual experience presented its own challenges, but overcoming those barriers allowed Emily to practice better discipline and accountability and to grow her abilities. Communication was a huge part of both the virtual format and the cultural differences within the virtual experience. Emily experienced tremendous growth from this experience that she will be able to use in her future career as a Nurse and her life.