Tonight is the first night in my own bed after spending two weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and it is a very bittersweet feeling. These past two weeks, I have learned an immeasurable amount about Argentinian culture and healthcare, but also about myself, and this trip had so much value that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Although some days in country had me missing home, there are so many highlights from this experience that made up for it.
A highlight for me was visiting some of the community health centers, because you could see the way in which the healthcare team worked out of pure compassion and concern for the members of their community. The community health centers typically ran on donations, and multiple centers noted that they have members who go out into the surrounding area and actively seek out people to check up on them and provide care. Although working conditions may not be the most glamorous, the healthcare providers at the community health centers worked out of true concern and care for the members of their community. As a nursing student, this was really refreshing to see, because with recent healthcare policy in the United States, I sometimes lose hope that healthcare is about compassion and patient-centeredness anymore, and rather about profits and promoting personal agendas while disregarding the patient’s needs and wishes. So, these visits were incredibly valuable to me because I hope to use the compassion I saw to inform my own practice in the future.
Other highlights included the day we explored Palermo Hollywood and Palermo SoHo, the neighborhoods known for their street art, as well when we visited the Estancia. I really loved both of these days because they gave me a deeper appreciation of Argentinian culture and history and were a fun break from the heavy lecture and site visit schedule we had during the week.
Most importantly, I am grateful for all of the connections I have made during this trip. I came into Plus3 Argentina without knowing anyone, and I am leaving with a really amazing group of friends that I’ll cherish for a very long time. I’ve said it before in one of my blog posts, but my friends and I joke that if we can make it through two weeks together on the other side of the world without knowing anything about each other beforehand, we can make it through anything.
Looking back, I have learned so much more than I thought possible, and not in just an academic sense. I have learned how to open myself up to new cultures, look at things from a new perspective, and get out of my comfort zone, and I am forever thankful for this opportunity.
I am so grateful for this experience and all of the people that made it possible for me to study two of my greatest passions is a country as beautiful as Argentina. I want to thank both Brad and Grant, as well as the CAPA and Austral staff who were there to help us in-country every step of the way, and, of course, my family who made it possible for me to attend Plus3.