My Life-Changing Peruvian Summer

This blog post is courtesy of Michael Corder, a senior studying Biology, who attended the ASU: From Lima to Machu Picchu: Exploring Healthcare, Culture, and Ethics in Peru Summer program. He was also a recipient of a Study Abroad Office Diversity Scholarship

This past summer I spent about a month studying abroad in Peru. During my time in Peru, I took two major-relevant courses and participated in a few different service-learning projects that included volunteering in a clinic and helping repair kitchens for those in need. This experience was beyond beneficial and I truly feel that it had a positive impact on my academic, professional and personal goals.

I am majoring in Biology and plan on attending medical school to become a physician after I graduate. Medical schools are becoming more and more competitive every year; so good grades are no longer enough to secure a spot. One trait that a competitive applicant for medical schools has is his or her life experience. After spending the summer in a foreign country, I do not think that there is any better way to gain life experience than to study abroad. I feel that studying abroad has made me a more mature and experienced individual. Studying abroad will help better my chances of getting into medical school, and I certainly feel more prepared. It gave me an additional perspective on life and allowed me to grow as an individual while experiencing another culture.

This program made a lot of sense for me academically because it was a healthcare-focused program and I took two classes that worked towards my degree. The classes that I took were  Culture and Health and Clinical Healthcare Ethics. I most certainly learned more about health care and what it means to be a healthcare professional, which will be extremely valuable for me in the future. For those on the fence about going abroad, rest assured that there are many other study abroad programs tailored for all different kinds of studies.

It’s very important to have a diverse life and to have experienced things outside of my “comfort bubble.” This program helped me gain some more confidence in myself and allowed me to not fear being outside of my comfort zone. Interacting with people who did not speak the same language as me, trying new foods, and participating in some tough physical labor for our service project all attributed to me gaining more confidence in myself. Getting away from home also gave me some time to think and reflect on my goals and myself. This allowed for me to come back home even more motivated to accomplish my goals.

I have always wanted to travel the world and this trip was actually my first time outside of the United States. I had trouble picking which country to start with but I chose Peru in particular because I have always had a deep admiration for Latin American culture and also because this trip gave me the opportunity to go and see Machu Picchu. Visiting Machu Picchu was on my bucket list and I was able to cross it off. This program made perfect sense for me—it changed my life and moved me closer to achieving my goals. I would recommend studying abroad to every single college student in the world.



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