Amanda Allen, study abroad (Photographing Paris)
I studied abroad in Paris, France, through the University of Michigan program “Photographing Paris.” This was an amazing opportunity. Thanks to scholarships such as the PICS study abroad grant, I was able to attend with less of a burden on my finances. I took a class on French language and culture through the Paris College of Art, as well as a class on photography with Pulitzer Prize–winning photographer, and U-M associate professor, David Turnley. Before my study abroad, I never had the confidence to interact with strangers or ask to take their photo—something many people are sensitive about. I learned how to be confident in my actions and in my purpose, resulting in a great documentation of life in Paris.
Alyssa Loskill, internship in Cape Town, South Africa, with Treatment Action Campaign
I left for South Africa with the perception that I would make a difference, but as it turned out, my internship and experiences changed me. Experiencing the Xhosa culture reinforced, to me, what is important in life: family and community. During my internship, a coworker’s wife passed away. Instead of sending a sympathy card or flowers, eight of his coworkers spent the night so he wouldn’t have to grieve alone. Without the support of the PICS scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to travel to South Africa and immerse myself in the culture—one of the best ways, I believe, to learn about the political, social, and economic factors of a community. This funding has truly made a difference in how I view the world and the people in it.
Michelle Ng, study abroad (Chinese Studies Program in Beijing)
My study abroad experience in Beijing significantly contributed to my professional and personal goals. While there, I took Mandarin and traditional Chinese medicine classes, and interned at the Guang’anmen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital—where I was able to shadow physicians who practiced acupuncture, cupping, and massage. It was fascinating to learn the physicians’ and patients’ thoughts on traditional Chinese medicine, including whether or not they thought it was a scientific practice and their speculations on the future of traditional Chinese medicine. The PICS study abroad grant helped to finance my trip so I could take advantage of a study abroad experience, fulfill credits towards my International Studies major, and learn something about myself and about the world. Without sufficient funding, I would not have been able to take this trip. I am thankful that PICS sponsors its students to study abroad, and I hope other students will be able to have this valuable opportunity as well.
Eberechi Ogbuaku, internship in Jinja, Uganda, with Archival Collection
Working in a dark basement in a government district building may not seem like a pleasant place to be for eight hours a day, but what made the difference was the archival restoration team I was a part of. The willingness to get the job done and genuine interest in getting to know one another made the experience much more rewarding, and the funding from the PICS summer research and internship grant provided me with this experience. I truly appreciate this cultural emersion and hope that funding will continue for students to travel abroad and experience life from another point of view.
Danial Sack, research in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with Family Planning Policies
While in Addis Ababa, I worked in collaboration with St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College to conduct a two-pronged investigation into family planning policy in Ethiopia. In addition to providing the data for my honors thesis, this project taught me how to conduct global health research—specifically, how to conduct research on a sensitive topic in a previously unknown cultural environment. Most importantly, I learned the temperament required and the ability to embrace and find humor in the associated challenges. This exposure will inform me further as I pursue a combined MD/PhD degree with my PhD in public health. I have made connections that allow me to continue my fieldwork in Ethiopia, if desired, and the tools to interact with physicians and public health specialists in other regions.
Henna Tzeng, internship in Beijing, China, the Beijing LGBT Center
In addition to daily Chinese classes and an elective “Understanding Modern China,” I interned at the Beijing LGBT Center for over two months. My main project was translating a grant application from Chinese to English. We applied for funding from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation for the center’s training program of LGBT–affirming psychologists who will offer mental health services to people living by HIV. I learned how hard it is to translate formal documents because I needed the writing to sound smooth and professional, and not literally translated. I finally understood why so many signs around Beijing had such interesting (and wrong) English translations. The PICS funding I received helped pay my tuition–and afforded me many eye-opening experiences.