Charisse Skinner

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

Duquesne University

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Charisse Skinner enjoyed her international spent as she spent 5 weeks studying in San Jose, Costa Rica.  She studied Medical Spanish, Costa Rican Healthcare and Tropical Medicine.  She lived with a host family in the Zapote neighborhood.  While Charisse fervently studied for her three classes, she took advantage of traveling with her professor who was also a doctor.  She went on a field trip to the World of Snakes, which houses a large variety of snakes, lizards and other reptiles. Furthermore, Charisse also learned about the proper treatment of snake bites and how to treat a patient who experiences any tropical disease. She also participated in a health fair while in Costa Rica by taking blood pressures and testing blood sugars for the citizens in the San Jose neighborhood; she was able to apply her medical Spanish skills when interacting with them.  Charisse took many trips to hospitals and doctor’s offices to learn more about Costa Rica and its health system.  On the weekends, she traveled to different areas of Costa Rica including Monteverde, La Fortuna, Montezuma, and San Marcos.  Overall, she appreciates her invaluable time interacting with the locals and learning about the Costa Rican culture.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

While planning our CEE, the entire group knew we had a special connection with children while abroad. At times our ideas were too big when we needed to think small in order to make a tremendous impact. We wanted to focus on health and healthy lifestyles for children. We knew there was no better way than to educate them about healthy living. Planning the CEE was very hard but extremely worth it in the end. Not only were we able to educate them but we were able provide entertainment for them during their after school program. The day of our CEE was a life changing experience. Many children came to our CEE; we had four stations set up and divided the children into groups by age. Our stations included body image, nutrition, stretching, and exercise. After all the children rotated through each station we took them outside for a relay race; we gave each child a colored wrist band to determine their teams. Once the relay race was over the children came back inside where they received a medal, a ribbon, and a water bottle. Before we left we presented the sports equipment to them. It is was the greatest feeling to see the smiles on all their faces when they saw all the equipment they will be able to use.