Annie Kim studied in both highly urban (San José) and rural (Upala) regions of Costa Rica for six weeks through the Temple University Public Health and Development Program. During her time at the capital, she took Spanish classes at the Institute for Central American Development Studies (ICADS) everyday, where she was able to advance her conversational skills in an effort to improve communication with Spanish-speakers and prepare to work with community members in Upala. She also attended lectures at the University of Costa Rica in order to gain a better understanding of the Costa Rican health care system and the diseases and complications most relevant to the country. In Upala, her involvement with the community and her learning came in two components: 1) rotations at the local hospital and 2) work with women in the community, as part of the Women’s Group. Annie was able to work closely with the faculty at Upala Hospital, as she did rotations with external consults, the pharmacy, the medical registry, the branch clinics, the social work office, the pediatrics department, and the operating room. After finishing one round of rotations, she chose to return to the hospital’s operating room, where she not only watched several surgical procedures, but was also able to speak with the general surgeon and anesthesiologist about their roles as doctors in Costa Rica and how their work differs from work in other countries and is highly dependent on the region of Costa Rica as well. In addition to the rotations, Annie met with women, both Nicaraguan and Costa Rican, documented and undocumented, in the community to determine what their greatest health concerns were. The work Annie and her team members did at the annual Health Fair, which provided health information and medical attention to anyone who needed it, regardless of their background, was the culmination of their work with the Women’s Group. During her stay in Costa Rica, Annie learned about the health care system on both macro and micro scale levels, preparing her to continue working and learning on both scales as she pursues medical school and ultimately a career in medicine and public health.
CEE Title: It Never Happens Here: Student Stories of Sexual Violence
"It Never Happens Here: Student Stories of Sexual Violence" was designed to present real stories of sexual violence from the local area of Philadelphia and from each of our host countries: England, Costa Rica, India, Germany, and South Africa. Each member of the team brought different themes to the discussion, which were highlighted in skits that were performed throughout the event. Along with each performance came a discussion between the team and the audience: we developed questions and initiated the conversation with the mission of creating an environment conducive to sharing personal experiences, thoughts, reactions, and a general flow of conversation both between members of the audience and between the audience and the team. We brought the issue of sexual violence to light to expose how urgent, serious, and widespread the problem is. The prevalence of sexual violence and its end can only come with social change, which is fostered by openly discussing the issue. We hoped to create a platform from which students can relate some of the global scenarios we presented to incidences that happen on a daily basis right around our university campus. For this reason, we decided to bring alive the stories of our own experiences and promoting discussion, demonstrating how ubiquitous sexual violence really is, and how universal feelings of helplessness, fear, and frustration are in female victims around the globe. The compassion, understanding, urgent sense of a need for change, and all-around support for one another in the room was a large and well-felt presence.