(June 15, 2017) -- Five University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) students are packing their bags for a trip to the other side of the Equator. They’re embarking on a journey to Cusco, Peru, the ninth-highest city in the world, as part of an internship with GlobeMed. The GlobeMed chapter at UTSA has partnered with Sacred Valley Health to promote health in underserved rural communities in Peru’s Sacred Valley region.
“I’ve never left the country, but I’ve always wanted an opportunity like this,” said Lauren Flores, a UTSA senior majoring in community health.
The UTSA students will spend five weeks in Peru this summer helping the staff at Sacred Valley Health by giving health exams to locals, testing their iron, issuing vitamins and educating families on basic steps they can take to prevent illness. According to GlobeMed, nearly half of the children under age five who live in Cusco are anemic.
“I like GlobeMed because the UTSA chapter is assigned to one place so our focus year round is helping Peru,” said Flores. “We don’t just show up, do this then leave. We maintain an ongoing relationship with the program in Peru to make a difference.”
Flores heard about GlobeMed through her friend, Elizabeth Treviño Narezo, a first-generation student pursuing public health, from San Antonio.
“I hope to inspire the Peruvian children so they understand that no matter where you come from, you can accomplish anything with persistence and resilience,” said Treviño Narezo.
Students don’t have to be health majors to get involved in GlobeMed. UTSA Honors College and biology student Caleb Offield is also going to Peru.
“My hope is that at the end of the trip, our friends at Sacred Valley Health will think to themselves that over the summer we achieved more than they expected, and would not have been able to without extra hands,” said Offield.
California native and first-gen student Karla Cortez is looking forward to learning and helping in Peru, an opportunity she learned about by attending a UTSA Involvement Fair.
“If it weren’t for events like those, I don’t think I would have gone out of my way to reach out and become involved with an organization like GlobeMed,” said Cortez. “I appreciate that UTSA is always encouraging students to become active on campus and in our communities.”
Jassmine Soto says the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will help her prepare for her future.
“I am majoring in health and want to work with programs addressing the health of different underserved communities. This opportunity will give me experience doing exactly the type of work I plan to do after graduating from UTSA,” said Soto.
Flores adds, “It’s a really good feeling to know I will be helping people in Peru, and this internship is going to help me figure out what I will do after I graduate from UTSA. It will set me on a clear path of what I want to do with my life. I am grateful UTSA gave me this opportunity.”
GlobeMed selects UTSA students during the fall semester for its summer internship to Peru. Grants are available to students to help fund the trip.
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