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How My Internship in India Gave Me Real World Experience

Posted on July 31, 2015

Travel has always been extremely important to me, so I knew I wanted to incorporate education abroad into my studies. As a Nutrition major, I had limited my opportunities for traditional study abroad programs. Nevertheless, I was determined to find a program abroad. As a STEM student, an internship abroad provided me with real world occupational experience, which I saw as a capstone to my undergraduate career.

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Since I was in a pre-med program and struggling to find quality clinical experience in the U.S., I began to focus my search for internship abroad in the medical field. I hoped this would help me decide if I wanted to apply to medical school or pursue other health career avenues. I found a unique program called Child Family Health International, which offers observational medical internships in numerous countries. Knowing I wanted the most breadth in the medical field, I applied for a 10 week internship in India that would take me through rotations in Cardiology, Pediatrics, Emergency, Traditional Medicine, and Public Health specialties.  

The internship allowed me to work one-on-one with multiple renowned doctors throughout India. As a lifelong learner and an avid knowledge seeker, I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to take what I had learned in my studies and see it directly applied to improve an individual’s quality of life.

One moment that stood out to me is when I was with Dr. Joshi, a cardiologist in the Dehra Dun Hospital. He was handing me electrocardiograms (EKG) to look over, with each one repeatedly being normal. Finally, an abnormal EKG passed my eyes and I was able to correctly discern it. Dr. Joshi was so ecstatic that I knew how to interpret an EKG that a lengthy conversation between us, with some strange comparisons about cause and treatment, followed.

While my internship gave me great exposure to the medical field, it also provided me with a better understanding of the culture. Because my internship was split between so many specialties, it also took me to multiple cities, towns, and villages. My personal boundaries were pushed, exhausted, and rebuilt. I made many great friends and friendships that will last a lifetime and have crossed oceans already.

My education abroad experience was a capstone to my undergraduate career. Not only was it a pinnacle point in my life, but it has become the launching pad for the next chapter in my life and career.  Prior to my internship abroad, I was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. As a Gilman Scholar I had to plan and complete my own Follow-On Service Project, which allows me to share my experience. Not only did the scholarship directly benefit my experience financially, it allowed for me to document, share, and articulate my experience with others in a way that I simply would not have done without being awarded the scholarship.

Author: Charles Baugh

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