Discovering Marilyn.

Spring 2023 participants: students and professors

What can I expect from studying abroad? 

Expect the unexpected. Go with an open mind. Have a goal or two to accomplish. Be willing to change your perspective and be surprised. 

I knew that studying abroad, I would participate in a program that was well-suited for me, but I never imagined the impact it would have. I was able to grow academically and learn so much about Chile. I grew a passion for public health and learned more about the disparities that may exist within the medical field. I was able to obtain new skills but also grow the skills that I already had. With this, I was able to accomplish one goal that I had for studying abroad and for the health studies program, which was gaining a global perspective on the health field. Since I only knew about the US’s health system, I wanted to be able to immerse myself in a different culture and be able to compare their health system to that of the US. With this, I would be able to better understand patients and be more personable with them. 

Being in a different country and culture allowed for me to learn more about understanding people and being genuine in the relationships that I built. Allowing myself to learn about a different culture than my own, I was able to gain a new perspective and take from the biopsychosocial approach that Chile uses within their healthcare system and implement it into how I would like to approach my own patients. This experience has made me also grow professionally and gain a better insight into what my future could look like. 

However, what has impacted me the most is the personal growth that I have been able to experience from my time in Chile. Even though I was still a student, the stress that came with academics was not as present as it was during my time at Hope. It’s something about the environment that allows you to constantly be learning and enjoy what you are experiencing. I loved the whole process and the journey had a lot of ups and downs but that made me grow into the person I am now. The Marilyn that boarded the flight felt alone, anxious, and nervous. 

Alone because I didn’t know anyone going to South America for a study abroad program. 

Anxious because it was an entirely new country and I was going to be away for a long time. 

Nervous because I had decided to miss my last semester at Hope and hoped that this experience would compensate for what I was missing. 

These feelings quickly diminished once I met the Spring 2023 students during the first week of orientation. I realized that I was going to be okay and that the experience would 100% be worth my time away. I received a pleasant surprise from the people that were a part of this program and I was able to learn so much from each and every one of them. I was able to feel loved, encouraged, accepted, extreme happiness, and comfortable with vulnerability. 

I was surrounded by the kindest, loving, caring, and genuine people, from the IES staff, to the professors, to the students. 

IES Santiago Spring 2023 is the reason why Marilyn began a journey she didn’t even realize she needed. I hold each person very near and dear to my heart and I will forever be grateful to have crossed with these special people.

Published by Marilyn Orellana

Class of 2023 Spanish Major, Pre-Med, and Chemistry Minor IES Health Studies Program

Leave a comment