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Through the study abroad program at SIUE, senior nursing student Septembré Williams became immersed in Spanish culture and the health care system in South America. Her six-week journey was an unforgettable experience.
As a Spanish minor, Septembré was interested in immersing herself in the culture and improving her conversational Spanish speaking skills. During her trip to Quito, Ecuador, she lived with a Spanish speaking family, took classes taught entirely in Spanish and worked for two weeks in a public hospital.
Septembré explained that the major difference she noticed between health care in the United States and in Ecuador was personal hygiene. "In Ecuador, they are not as focused on hand washing and personal hygiene as we are in the United States," said Septembré. "It was not an impoverished hospital, but they did not have as much of the simple sanitary solutions available for use as in United States hospitals."
Septembré said her study abroad experience was challenging but extremely rewarding. She advises others that want to participate in health care systems internationally to prepare mentally and physically. "You do not know what you will see when you go to another country," Septembré said. "I am a fixer, so it was difficult for me to realize that I can't fix everything and everyone. Regardless, it was an inspiring trip. Anyone interested in this type of experience will learn from it if they are open to all of the possibilities."