Emma (top photo, far left) and ULMC students; partial of ULMC banner (bottom left); Nikita (right)
Student Highlight #3
Emma S. and Nikita N.
After our tour of the University of Limpopo Medunsa campus, the microbiology and virology programs hosted us for lunch. Ever the Student Affairs professional :-) , I requested that Dr. Blackard have the UC and ULMC students intermingle. Both groups admitted to initially feeling hesitant to speak to one another. Once they started, however, it was difficult to separate them and continue with our campus tour! Two UC students in particular would like to share their experience.
Nikita is a first-year pre-pharmacy major. When she heard the instructions to sit next to someone that she didn’t know, she was nervous that, “there would be a cultural barrier and that we wouldn’t be able to identify with each other.” Actually, they found that they had a lot in common. All of the girls thought their dorms were gross and that college guys smell bad ;-) !
Emma, a second year biomedical engineering major, felt guilty that she would be limited to English and had no knowledge of other South African languages. She quickly forgot that, however, as they started talking about college life, music and TV. The discussion about what the girls do for fun did unveil that some of the South African students had preconceptions as well. For example, they expected to see the UC ladies with long, blonde tresses and dressed like the characters on the show Gossip Girl. The session ended with smiles and promises to friend each other on Facebook.
Emma chose to participate in this course to expand her understanding of the biomedical needs of the developing world and to see real world application of what she learn in the classroom. This fall she will begin a co-opt with Johnson & Johnson as they explore using more affordable, quality prosthetic materials for use in developing countries. She hopes to use her experiences in Southern Africa to inform her own research project.
Nikita decided that this was the sudy tour for her because she has committed herself to operating outside of her comfort zone, geographically and academically speaking. Other than India, she has not traveled outside of the US and her classes mainly focus of biology and chemistry. “Public Health in Southern Africa” has exposed her the patient care apect of the medical field and has whet her appetite for study tours. She hopes to join the UC research tour to the Brazilian Amazon.