My name is Ashley Wenke and I am writing this online journal, to document the experience of studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico. I am currently a Biology Major and an Environmental Science Minor at Rutgers University. This summer I will be studying Public Health in Mexico. This one-month program will entail personal Spanish classes, many seminars, community service experience, and several adventures across the country. We will be partnering with ProWorld in our community-oriented activities.
I chose this program because of the particular focus on community health. Not to mention my Spanish skills need a revitalization because they are now almost non-existent. As a biology student, I have recently become exposed to a different side of the medical field; this is especially true in Systems Physiology class that I recently took. Since then, my interest in the medical field has only grown stronger. Back in January, I began volunteering at the Princeton Oncology and Hematology Treatment Center. The majority of the time I spend there involves interacting with the patients. I never imagined that I would be so comfortable in this setting, but I always look forward to my weekly visits. Each time I learn something new, and I feel like I am able to give back to those in need. I have come to realize that the joy that I experience in helping others will be an important part choosing a career.
This trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, I hope will be another confirming step in the importance of community service in my future. There are a couple of community centers that I could work in this summer. I believe the entire list includes an orphanage, a senior citizens home, a school for the hearing impared, and a hospital. All of these places offer amazing opportunities, but I am hoping to be chosen to work inside the hospital.
Another thing that I am really looking forward too, are our weekend excursions around the area. One of these weekends has been dedicated to a hike up a local mountain at some point on the hike we will have the opportunity to go zip lining! This is something that I am dearly looking forward too, since I am a big fan of heights (when I can, I enjoy rock climbing either outdoors or at the Rutgers gym). On another weekend we will be visiting some ancient ruins. There will also be a trip to a village that dedicates their town income to weaving. In this village we will partake in a healing ceremony. All of these experiences are uncharted territories for me, and I am looking forward to all of them! I hope to capture these and many more happenings in this online journal so that you too can share in my adventures.