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Student Testimonials: Tamara Kurek

Tamara Kurek, a junior Biology at SUNY Geneseo, traveled to El Sauce in June of 2014 to participate in the school's Service Learning class, supported and run by Enlace Project. Here's what she had to say when reflecting on her experience: I spent a month in El Sauce this past summer completing a Global Service Learning course through SUNY Geneseo. The bulk of my time was spent shadowing doctors and nurses at rural health posts, helping teach English classes at the Enlace Project English School, and traveling around different parts of Nicaragua. I learned about my future profession as a physician, a new culture, and about myself through the wonderful people I met.

At the health posts, I quickly became friends with the nurse and doctors who rotated through during the week. They were more than willing to teach me about their daily tasks and train me in a few of them so that I could help increase the number of patients they saw in a day. They were equally as open to just chat about their lives and what it was like to work in healthcare in Nicaragua. The tasks that I was assigned to were weighing patients, taking blood pressures, and writing out scripts for medications. These tasks, while simple, were endlessly exciting to me as a Biology major on the Pre-med track. Simply watching the doctors attend patients, too, was a great learning experience. Participating in the English classes was one of many activities that contributed to the overall experience of getting to know the people of El Sauce. During those afternoons, I was touched and endlessly impressed by the students’ persistence and positive attitudes in learning the English language. The young adults in Juan’s level one class advanced in skill each week I was there, and they took our criticisms gracefully when we worked with them on their pronunciation. On our weekend trips we got to see cities like León and Granada and learn about the country’s history. While we were in León we went to an art gallery that featured many Nicaraguan artists’ work, and that visit inspired me to choose Nicaraguan art in the 20th century as the focus for an art history paper that I am to write at Geneseo this semester.

I kept a journal all throughout the month I was in Nicaragua, and the last entry, written on the plane from Managua to Miami, was this:

“I’ll remember the people that I met on this trip forever, even once I forget the details of what I saw and did”. I know this is true, and I hope to keep in touch with the people I met there and with Enlace Project for years to come.

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