Archive for the ‘Study Abroad’ Category

November 26

Just one week in Honduras changed her whole future

By Alessandra Forero

Chelsea Higgins works alongside fellow students at the children's "charla," she created in Honduras with the Global Medical Brigades.

Just a year ago sophomore, Chelsea Higgins, an anthropology major following a pre-medical track, came to Boston University not as an aspiring doctor but as a neuroscience major. But after spending a week in Honduras with the BU Global Medical Brigades, Chelsea’s entire perception about global medicine changed.

Working in Honduras alongside other students from BU, Chelsea held hands with the children she was helping and cared for women who’d never had a personal medical consultation. The goal of the trip was to offer medical assessments, dental screenings and free medication to both adults and children in the region who did not have access to healthcare.

It took just one semester at Boston University to prepare for her life-changing trip. Chelsea and a small group of BU students took the initiative to raise the funds needed through to travel to Honduras. Also before her trip, she designed a curriculum for a children’s “charla,” meaning “chat” in Spanish. Chelsea created this curriculum, which included skits, songs and dances, as a way to have a fun and educational conversation with children about everyday dental hygiene.

Through her time in Honduras Chelsea realized she wanted to study a major that incorporated cultural sensitivity and awareness into the medical world. Upon returning to BU, she switched her major to anthropology to help address some of the challenges she saw her clients facing.

One of the greatest challenges she observed while in Honduras, which was also one of her favorite learning experiences, “was understanding Honduran perspectives and ideals while trying to assist patients. Recognizing the patient’s point of view is equally as important as supplying the medication,” she said.

While Chelsea enjoyed learning about medicine and volunteering at the clinic, her favorite part of the trip was interacting with the Honduran people. “Because I speak Spanish, I was able to have long conversations with locals and learn so much about the challenges not just the patients, but their country is facing, such as illegal immigration or drug trafficking. I learned, without the slant of the media, what these people really see and how that affects their medical needs.”

While she was passionate and proud of her volunteer experience in Honduras, Chelsea shared her realization, “You can’t fix it all in four days, it’s a long process. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment over many years. That only pushed me more to want to pursue global medicine for my future.”

When asked to give her best advice to aspiring medical students, Chelsea said, “Do the pre-med track and major in something you enjoy, something you are passionate about.”

Boston University encourages pre-medical and pre-dental students to create their own undergraduate pathway, as they work toward their intended career, through whichever major they desire. Many BU students major in traditional programs, such as biology or biomedical engineering, while others branch out and explore majors as varied as international relations, psychology, or economics – all while still pursuing a medical degree.

This semester Chelsea is back at BU hoping to use her larger humanitarian perspective on medicine and love for working with people to keep pushing herself in global medicine.

For Chelsea, the choice to come to Boston and attend BU was the first step in breaking out of her comfort zone and experiencing new things through academics, her experience in Honduras, and the people she has met along the way.

“BU has pushed me outside my comfort zone like I never had expected it would. It was a combination of all these things that lead me to see a future in global medicine that would have seemed out of reach in the past. I’m encouraged by watching my peers break boundaries in their fields of interest, which continuously inspires me to do the same,” she said.



November 15

Hello from London

By muellerz

Prime Meridian

Hello from London! Let me introduce myself—my name is Zack (that’s me above, at the Prime Meridian), and I’m a junior at BU. I’ll be posting here every so often, so keep checking back for more! I’ve had a ton of great experiences at BU so far: sailing on the Charles, Kilachand Honors College classes, my time on the Mock Trial team, and the summer I spent living and working in Boston are just a few. But right now I’m in London on one of BU’s awesome internship study abroad programs, so I figured I’d start off by telling you a little about that.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect out of a study abroad program. I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and have traveled around the country quite a bit, but my international experiences were limited to Vancouver, BC, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Those trips were vacations, so this is the first time I’ve ever really lived and worked in a foreign country.


The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

England might not seem like a very exotic destination, but at the same time it’s much different than the US, and in so many ways. Take the Tube (the London subway system), for instance. If you don’t know your way around its extensive underground network, and if you don’t know to stand on the right side of the escalator and walk on the left, then you best get out of the way or risk getting run over; much different than in Boston, where the T (our subway system) is more relaxed. Another difference: on the Tube, everyone reads newspapers and doesn’t say a word to each other. On the T, there’s always a conversation to be had.

Harry Potter Studios

Harry Potter Studios

That said, when you introduce yourself, work, or spend some time with a Londoner, they’ll talk to you like you’ve known each other forever! It’s interesting how, generally with strangers, most people in the city keep to themselves, but once you start to establish a relationship they’ll want to go out for drinks or check out an event in the city almost every weekend. Having the opportunity to work in a law firm through the program has really allowed me to see what it’s like to live and work like a Londoner, and has given me so much more of a unique view of the people and life here than any other visit would have afforded.

I’ve always known I wanted to study abroad, and my experience so far has only reaffirmed how important I think it is to a college education. It’s much more difficult to be successful in today’s international economy without having experienced at least one other culture. While I may not have the chance to work and live in every country, the more exposure I have to people all over the world, the more it will enrich my own education. My time here has not only made me see what a great decision it was to go abroad, but now has me seriously considering programs like the Peace Corps or other opportunities after graduation that will let me see more cultures and get to know more people from all over the planet.

Of course, there’s more to my study abroad experience in London than the internship and the subway system. I’ve toured Buckingham Palace, visited Windsor Castle, ran in a half-marathon around the city, and went to a Guy Fawkes Day carnival that culminated in a fireworks display over the city. Oh, and a few weeks ago, the world premiere of the new James Bond movie was held a block and a half from the BU dorm building here at the Royal Albert Hall. The premier was attended by Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, and Prince Charles and his wife, among other celebrities and musicians. Just an average day in London!

Not many prospective students think about it, but look into the study abroad programs of the schools you are thinking of applying to. Make sure they have an option to study abroad for at least one or two programs you might be interested in. If you want to check out all of BU’s programs, go to Fair warning, you might be a bit overwhelmed with all the options!