Photo Credit: USI Photography Services
Biochemistry major Chelsea Heibel, a junior from Fort Wayne, Indiana, is spending eight weeks in Ghana this summer with the World Endeavors volunteer program. The fully-funded trip, from May 10 to July 8, is part of a series of Global Engagement Internships offered by USI in 2012 that also includes internships in Scotland and India.
Heibel found the internship appealing because it will allow her to customize her experience - matching her goals and interests with the needs of the local community in Ghana. “I want to go into medicine and I can see myself working oversees as a doctor in an under-served area,” she said. “I’ve shadowed doctors here, but I’m excited about being exposed to the rural landscape and learning the structure of their healthcare system and how doctors interact. Also, just being exposed to a different culture. I can’t believe what a great opportunity this is.”
Heibel’s plans included spending up to four weeks in the city of Kumasi, where she is staying with a host family in the city’s suburbs and working in the maternity wing of the local hospital. She has a CNA and the focus of her work there will be with pregnant women and young mothers. Her faculty mentor, Dr. Kevin Valadares, will spend 16 days in Ghana with Heibel in June.
For the other four weeks, she hopes to spend her time in a rural area of Ghana addressing public health issues for under-served communities and under-staffed hospitals.
This will be Heibel’s first trip outside the country other than a brief trip to Canada. She did, however, spend time working on service projects during a mission trip to Arlington, Texas. World Endeavors volunteer programs are traditionally known for their cultural immersion. Volunteers live in the communities they serve, learn the local language, meet the people, experience customs and traditions, and eat the local food.
Heibel plans to keep a blog and post photos during her experience.
Heibel's was one of four Global Engagement Internships awarded in spring 2012 through USI’s International Programs and Studies. See the links at top right for more.