CFHI Alum Reflects on Her Experience in South Africa

Stella Chiu who spent part of her summer on one of CFHI’s Global Health Immersion Programs in South Africa contributed to a blog on the IE3 Global Internships website.  Her blog postStella Chiu CFHI CapeTown 2010 Coming Home with New Perspectives is an honest sharing of her thoughts as she is still in the re-entry process.  Stella says, “I haven’t had any major problems re-integrating. However, the only difficulties I’ve encountered are through the new perspectives that I’ve gained.”

Stella reports that after being completely immersed in the South African culture and healthcare system, and especially with the  warm welcome of her South African host family, she now finds herself, at times, ‘homesick’ for South Africa.   Stella recommends to others who go abroad to build in time to reflect after coming home, to “sit down and think”  so that you can become aware of how your perspective has changed “both personally and professionally” by what you have experienced.   She says of her friends, “Sometimes it is hard for others to understand my outlook on certain things because they have not experienced what I have experienced.”

As part of her own reflection, Stella shares, “I am grateful for the opportunity CHFI-South Africa has given me in developing my clinical skills and finding my niche. I did rotations in surgery, pediatrics, ophthalmology, and in internal medicine and found an unexpected love for surgery. I grew to understand South Africa’s health care system, as well as its deficiencies, setting the groundwork for when I can return someday to work. I have built lifelong relationships with students in the program, and the families that I stayed with. I know that I will always have a home in South Africa.”

We wish Stella well as she continues her re-entry and we know that her host family and those who worked with her in South Africa were grateful for her presence and will never forget her.

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