Every Spring break, University of Memphis nursing and public health students travel to Costa Rica for an experience of a lifetime. The purpose of our travels is to compare the Costa Rica health care system to the American health care system. Students learn from a variety of activities. Students listen to lectures from local physicians and meet and compare notes with other students attending Ulatina.
Perhaps the most transformational experiences include the time our students spend serving others. We have developed a relationship with an HIV/AIDs home. Our students visit this home where men and women have been shunned from their culture. The stigma of HIV in Costa Rica is still very negative. Not only do our students have opportunity to support and lift these individuals from loneliness, they are able to put their classroom conversations into action by showing compassion for individuals – no matter their life situation.
Another touching experience is traveling to one of the local nursing homes. It is intriguing for the students to see the differences how the elderly are cared for in Costa Rica. We always take the residents little packages with combs, lotion and note pads. The residents weep because they are no longer given much. The elderly patients are always very energized to see the students.
The students tour public hospitals as well as private hospitals. These experiences produce interesting conversations as students consider the differences between their personal experiences at American doctor’s offices vs. the medical practices in Costa Rica. We have observed the mother baby unit, pediatric emergency room and hospital. Each time we go we see something new and exciting.
Lastly, the students do get a day to play. During this time there is hiking and a trip to the beach. They are always excited to see monkeys playing on the beach. Sloths are often spotted in the trees and it is not surprising to see Toucans. It is a beautiful country.
Your Support Will Help
Our goal is that the students come home with a new perspective of health care that is somewhat different than our own.
We cannot begin to Thank you for helping support these dedicated, energetic U of M tigers. Thank you for sending your heart with us as we nurture those that need to be nurtured....as we learn what we need to learn and as we play...like all of us should play.