This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica for a study abroad experience. The purpose of the trip was to study Health Care and Nutrition. While in Costa Rica the group visited multiple farms, public and private hospitals, a midwife, a program designed for underprivileged preschool school age children, an indigenous community, a shaman, and the University of Costa Rica. This trip was not only educational but also very exciting. We had the opportunity to go white water rafting and zip lining. The trip was designed for nursing students, but as a student who is studying Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences this trip was rewarding. There was another SLHS student on the trip and we both had the opportunity to observe a speech pathologist while in Costa Rica. Not only did we learn about the health care system and nutrition we also experienced the Costa Rican culture. We had to adapt to their way of life by learning their language, exploring their towns, using their currency, and eating their cuisine. Other than observing the speech pathologist the most memorable experience that I had while being in Costa Rica was meeting the midwife. Her name is Dona Miriam; she is 90 years old and has delivered over 2000 babies in her lifetime. She has also given birth to 19 children. She dropped out of school at a young age, and followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a midwife. She welcomed our group into her home with loving arms even fed us as grandmothers always do. While visiting her, we had the opportunity to see her put her skills to work on a pregnant mother. Dona Miriam has been working for so long that she is able to sense when something is wrong with the mother and is able to use a massage procedure to adjust the baby into the correct position and relieve the mother of any pain that she may be feeling. Not only does Dona Miriam work as a midwife she is also knowledgeable on many natural remedies to treat anything from calluses to scorpion bites. Dona Miriam helped to train a gringa (white woman) midwife that has lived in Costa Rica for over 20 years, and that gringa is now training a nursing student at the University of Costa Rica so that the tradition of midwifery will never end. I loved my experience in Costa Rica and I am excited to continue to travel to see other parts of the world. I encourage all students to have a study abroad experience not only for educational purposes but also to have the lifelong lessons and memories that come with it.
— Kia Thatch, Senior, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences