Samantha Ursiny

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Greensburg

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
Study Abroad Country: Cohort Year:  Home Institution:  Programming Area: 
International Experience Summary:

Samantha Ursiny traveled to Iringa, Tanzania from mid-May to mid-June through the Pitt in Tanzania program. During her five weeks at the Primary Health Care Institute, she took three courses. She studied culture and society in East Africa, Swahili language, and health issues in east Africa. In her East African culture class, they had discussions about the similarities and differences between American culture and East African culture. She was fascinated by the different aspects of the culture and enjoyed getting to talk to her Tanzanian friends about the topics. She learned many new things outside of the classroom too that also helped her learn about the culture such as: jewelry making, basket weaving, cultural dancing, tie dying, and cooking meals. She was excited by the opportunity to learn another language, especially Swahili. Every day she learned new words, phases, and rules in the language. During her weekends she would practice Swahili when she went to the market or with her friends. Soon she was able to have basic conversions with her friends and market sellers in Swahili. Her favorite class was her Health Issues in East Africa class. Since she is interested in working in the health field after she graduates, she was very excited to get a look into another health care system. Through lectures, visits to clinics and other health centers, and discussions with Tanzanian friends she was able to understand how the East African culture affects health care. While in Iringa, she also got to shadow a pediatric occupational therapist and learn about what occupational therapy looked like in East Africa. This helped to confirm that occupational therapy is the career that she wants to pursue. She also enjoyed the weekend trips to Ruaha National Park, Kilolo Village, and basket weaving. Learning how to basket weave with one of the elder women was one of her favorite parts of her trip. After her experience she feels like she is now more independent, confident, open minded, and passionate about exploring the world.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: I'm Not a Bitch, I'm a Woman

Our CEE, “ I’m not a Bitch. I’m a Woman.” helped us communicate what we learned in our different countries into an issue that we see across our campus. At the Spring Retreat when we had a chance to talk about a topic, we talked about multiple different ideas. One thing that I learned from my trip is although women lead different lives in other countries, it does not mean that they are oppressed. We started talking about women in our countries and what we realized is that we learned a lot about women in other countries and what it was like to be a woman in a foreign country.  What we also learned from interviewing a woman leader for one of our spring retreat assignments was that women that were from our campus had/were facing discrimination based on their gender. We then decided to narrow down our topic to the global perceptions of women and feminism. This idea really excited us because we all saw how women were impacted in the countries we went to and now we had the chance to open up a talking space for a topic that is not discussed often, especially on our small campus. We filmed a short video for our presentation and from this I learned that this topic did really need to be talked about on our campus. Discrimination is real here; some people like to think that it is only in other countries that aren’t as developed but the sad truth is that it is everywhere. As stated earlier, we were all very excited by this topic and I was excited to share my international experience. My own internal experience was shown in this presentation by talking about what it is like to be a woman in a foreign country, what I learned about women in Tanzania, what I want to carry with me from what I learned from my trip, and from questions from the audience. It was so powerful to be able to share my experience in a way that got people in the audience talking and thinking. I am very proud with how we connected our international experiences with a topic that was relevant in our own community.