OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University nursing students will join Spanish-speaking WSU students on a trip to South America to study Ecuador's culture and health care, as well as offer needed health education and supplies.
The study abroad trip is offered in conjunction with the Charity Anywhere Foundation, which will facilitate clinical experiences for the nursing students while they are in Ecuador. The nursing students will assist local doctors and dentists caring for patients. The Spanish-speaking students will use their language skills to interpret for the nursing students.
According to Sharen Brady, an associate nursing professor at WSU who is overseeing the trip, the opportunity for students to gain experience in the field by using the skills they have developed in the classroom will enhance their education.
"The trip gives students more of a cultural perspective, which helps them when they enter the workplace," Brady said. "It helps them know how to treat people of a different background than themselves."
In addition to working and learning in a new environment, the students will distribute medical and dental supplies they have gathered. Sumer Christensen, a first-year WSU nursing student from Bountiful, has worked closely with the Ogden campus chapter of the National Student Nurses Association to donate supplies that Charity Anywhere requests on its Web site.
"I thought it would make for a more fulfilling trip if we could take supplies with us to share," Christensen said. "There's a huge need."
Since the 2005-06 school year ended in May, the 43 students participating in the trip have studied Ecuador’s culture with Brady and Alicia Giralt, an associate Spanish professor who will travel with the group. On June 13, the group will fly to Quito, Ecuador, where they will spend the next 18 days providing medical and dental care, as well as visiting local history and art museums. They will return to Utah on June 30.
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