I attended the International Coffee Hour hosted by the Inclusive Excellence Center on campus this past Thursday 3/30. This International Coffee Hour featured food and coffee drinks from Colombia including Colombian coffee, Enyucado (a cake type of dessert), and Afajor (dulce de leche flavored cookies). A group called AIESEC was presenting on their work around the world. AIESEC is a group that provides students with opportunities to travel abroad and work in volunteer or internship type jobs while living with a family or another group of students. These students help better the communities they live in. Through these abroad experiences, AIESEC hopes to provide students leadership skills, confidence, and cultural awareness that they can share with others.
One of the student presenters, Sean, shared details about his experience in Thailand. There were not a lot of specific cultural facts provided, but through hearing about Sean’s experience working in an orphanage and school, I gained a better understand about how people support each other. Sean shared that on one of the very rough days he had in the program, the students he taught and his coworkers all banded together to make sure he was okay. He became everyone’s first priority. This is different from my culture as we tend to be very egocentric and take care of our needs before even considering the needs to others. This experience also helped me gain a better understanding of how important it is, especially today, to be educated about lots of different cultures. It helps to make you a better communicator, professional, and less ignorant. You can see the world in a different way if you attempt to understand everyone who lives here. My question is, how can we, as future health care providers, implement this knowledge of culture not only around the world but in our own communities?