We are so excited to introduce to you the first winner of our Passport Campaign: HBCU Edition. Earlier this spring, we ran a campaign to sponsor one college student's passport fee ($130 value) who needed financial help to experience their first time abroad. We had great applicants this year but Christina's story reflected OYT's missions. We have finally processed her passport application and she is going on her first trip next month! See our interview post about what Christina will be doing.
What HBCU do you attend?
Florida A&M University
What year are you in and what is your major?
Third year Pharmacy student
Where would you travel to first and why?
I am apart of the organization named FAMU H.E.R.O. (Health Education Relief Organization). In August 2015, I have the opportunity to represent FAMU to go to Guyana on a medical mission trip. I want to go to this trip because this represents the many things I believe. First and most importantly, I have the opportunity to help people (in the global community) through health care. I will have the opportunity to witness surgery, help consult patients, aide in pharmacy department, and many other things. I will be completely immersed in the culture. I will interact with the people of Guyana on a personal level. This is not just a tourist vacation, but an opportunity to actually see the people, their situation, and their daily lives. From the recounts of my team members, Guyana provides so much cultural enrichment. I want to expand my boundaries so that I may be pushed and exposed to a new way of life in its entirety. The Guyanese people are a melting pot of several cultures and I want to learn what they have to offer. This mission trip provides a new exciting way to help others beyond my immediate community. I would like to not only make an impact in my community, but also the world and by doing this, I can make that initial step. I want to be reminded that life is more than the 9-5, but can be used to explore and learn and create experiences/memories that will forever impact me and others.
What would you like to learn from traveling?
Regarding the clinical aspect of the trip, I wish to gain the experience of being exposed to the urgency of the health care needs of the Guyanese. My major is pharmacy, and I wish to see the impact of supplying the people with medication. I wish to expand my horizons by learning from all aspects of the mission trip from pharmacy to surgery. I have focused my interests in helping others through healthcare areas because I believe in helping others in fixing/maintaining their bodies. This is why I appreciate FAMU H.E.R.O. They give the opportunity to meet and work with others while helping providing health based aide.
I want to learn from the Guyanese. With a culture that has influences from many different countries such as the British and the Dutch, and their indigenous people (such as the Arawak), I will learn the differences from the U.S.A. Guyana is mainly an agricultural country and the people speak a Guyanese creole dialect; however, the facts cannot compare to hearing, seeing, tasting, and experiencing the country. An interesting fact I learned of Guyana is that it is a considered a Caribbean country even though it is located in South America. My family is Haitian so I also want to learn how Guyanese and Haitian people are similar and different.
What does culture mean to you?
I believe that culture is a general classification given to a similar group of people based upon their language, religious beliefs, foods, tradition, history, and region. Culture and its influences is what helps make each person unique. As a person who was raised in America but with Haitian influence, I believe I have gained an appreciation for being a part of two different cultures. Culture is like a molder that is able to serve as an influential basis of who you can become. Not to say that it is only culture that forms you but it is a big part. With my culture being both American and Haitian, I am able to see how one works with the other because of their similarities such as the ambition to do better for oneself and their families. WIth differences such as language, upbringing, and religion, conflict and discrimination can arise. By having two different experiences, I am able to witness how and why discrimination occurs - which is typically a misunderstanding between cultures.
Different cultures are vital in the world because if there is only one culture, I believe that people will be missing the creativity, beauty, and diverseness that makes humankind special. All in all, culture to me is a component that makes people of the world unique but connected.
We followed up with Christina and she was able to share some photos with us from her trip!