Study Abroad Program

August 16, 2017
Faith Winston

Today with tears in our eyes and love in our hearts, we spent our last morning in the village of Umasbamba. Peru has been like a garden to me. We all came here as small seeds, and this environment has helped us grow. We have been nurtured and fed with knowledge and love. We have also learned to prune the parts of ourselves that do not give life to those around us. Not only have we learned to understand different people, we have also gained a deeper understanding of ourselves. I have learned to appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of a culture different than my own. I have also realized that we are all students and life is a great teacher if we wake up every day ready to learn. I have been able to learn from the smallest children as well as the most experienced adults. I have learned through my class meetings and through the small exchanges with locals. It is extremely easy to wake up every day and mindlessly follow a routine. But after this trip, I have realized that there are so many learning opportunities around me, and I would like to eliminate distractions and pay more attention to what matters. I believe that every moment, big and small has helped us gain skills that will be with me for my whole life. This trip has inspired me to be culturally sensitive, competent, and humble in my personal life and as a future professional. Through this, I hope to see more equality in our hospitals and communities as a whole. Peru was amazing, thanks to so many wonderful people and the support of my donors, classmates, professors, and my family. My promise is that I won't ever forget what I learned, but I will make a daily effort to make changes in myself and the world around me. We do not have to go overseas to make a global difference, you can make a change from right where you are at this very moment. However, if you have the opportunity to travel, do it. Just remember, wherever you are, learn from the people around you. It will change your life forever, it definitely changed mine.  (originally published June 29, 2017)

 


August 11, 2017
Faith Winston

Today, was the last day of service work and our last full day in the village. Yes, many of us are exhausted, but our hearts are full. We have been able to complete many small projects that will make a significant difference for families. Our last day, we were able to finish the wall that we had been working on for many days, after finishing this wall, we were so proud and amazed. Seeing the wall smooth and finished was a great moment. Without modern tools and materials, it was difficult and time consuming. However through consistency, teamwork, and patience we were able to finish repairing the walls of this small kitchen. I am proud to have a picture with my team in front of a wall that we repaired with our own hands. (originally published June 28, 2017)

 


August 6, 2017
Faith Winston

For four days we lived in the village that we had been visiting for the last couple of weeks. This environment was completely different than what I have been used to. Yes, change is scary and it can be uncomfortable. However, I am choosing to embrace the experience. Since the moment we landed in Peru, we have had to adjust to new foods, new traditions, new social norms, and a completely different way of living. We have been challenged in class to reflect and notice our own biases and change the way that we think. Nothing about this has been easy, but through everything I believe that through our vulnerability we have become stronger and more understanding individuals. I have fallen in love with the village and am excited to call this my new home for the next four days and the last four days of my time here in Peru.  (originally published June 26, 2017)


August 1, 2017
Faith Winston

During my time visiting and serving in the village of Umasbamba, I have learned about the importance of weaving. Weaving is extremely important for the village culturally as well as financially. Many of the women have learned to weave beautiful pieces from the older women in their communities or from small schools. One of these handmade pieces can take more than a month to make. They start with cleaning the wool of a sheep. After cleaning the wool, they use natural dyes from flowers and plants to make different shades and hues. Then they spin the wool into thread and begin to weave their masterpieces. During our time in the village we learned that the beautiful patterns woven into these pieces have great cultural significance. The symbols represent love, and depict images such as the lake, the hills, and animals that can be found in the village. I bought two of these beautiful pieces to bring home with me and I will use them to tell the stories of the village they came from and the skilled hands that made them.  (originally published June 22, 2017)


July 27, 2017
Faith Winston

My day in the clinic was extremely exciting because it was my first clinical experience in a hospital outside of the United States. My favorite part of this day was working in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department. I was able to assist with prenatal assessments and examinations with the help of the doctor. I believe that this experience will be valuable in my future as a Labor and Delivery nurse. My classmates and I also had the opportunity to work in the Emergency Area where we helped with assessments, wound care, and observed the doctor repair a laceration with stitches. This experience was different than my clinical rotations in the U.S. however these doctors were very resourceful and did a great job providing treatment with the staff and resources that they had.  (originally posted June 20, 2017)


July 27, 2017
Faith Winston

After hours cruising through the lake and stopping by to visit several islands, we docked on Amantani Island for the night. After eating lunch, relaxing, hiking, and watching the sun set over the lake, we had dinner with the members of our new family. Freddy, his wife Violeta, and their daughter Julissa welcomed us with their hospitality and warm faces. This dinner was definitely a highlight of the trip for me and many of my classmates. I will never forget sitting alongside these amazing people in the small, dark, kitchen area. We sat and talked as we held our warm soup bowls and tea cups in our cold hands. Freddy shared information with us about the herbal remedies that he learned from his ancestors who lived there before him. In the middle of dinner, he even went outside and brought in different herbs and told us what each one is used for. These herbs are used for anything from altitude sickness and colds to severe labor pains. I was fascinated that he helped his wife deliver her two children and the only pain medicine that she had was tea from one of the herbs found on the island. Although we only stayed on Amantani Island for this night, we learned valuable information about natural medicine. After a great conversation at dinner and an evening fiesta with the entire village, I was left in awe by the vast amount of knowledge and love that exists on such a small island. The next morning, Freddy walked us down to the dock to say goodbye. It was time for us to leave the island, but I believe that we left pieces of ourselves there, and took with us enough memories to last a lifetime.  (originally published June 18, 2017)

 


July 24, 2017
Faith Winston

During our trip, a group of students and I took an excursion to Lake Titicaca. We were able to meet many people and learn about the history of the islands and the techniques used to make them. On this lake, there are 36 natural islands as well as 87 man-made "islas flotantes" or floating islands. Totora reeds grow in the lake and they are essential for making the islands, building their homes, and the reeds can even be eaten. It was amazing seeing these huge islands floating in the middle of the lake and I was fascinated to learn about the process. Seeing these floating villages and being able to walk on them was a great experience. I will never forget exploring the island while the reed floor squished under my feet. During this time, I grew an appreciation for the creativity and resourcefulness of the natives. ASU may be #1 in innovation but the people of the Uros islands definitely taught us a thing or two today! (originally published June 18, 2017)


July 17, 2017
Faith Winston

The village of Umasbamba is an hour bus ride from the city of Cusco and today we came here for the first time to start our service learning project. We partnered with Kaya Responsible Travel in order to help build sustainable cooking stoves and restore the kitchens. After being welcomed with music and dancing from the community and getting to know the people we would be working with, we received training on the work that we would be doing for the next two and a half weeks. We used "ladrillos" (bricks) and "barro" (mud) to build the stove and the chimney. Although it may seem small, these efforts are essential in improving air quality and preventing lung disease, pneumonia, and other breathing complications that can occur as a result of inhaling the smoke and soot that contains harmful chemicals. Through this process, we have learned that seemingly small acts can save lives and improve the health of families and communities. I am proud of our work and the people around me who have made serving a fun experience. (originally published June 14, 2017)


July 14, 2017
Faith Winston

After a long journey from Machu Picchu, I arrived at my homestay in the city of Cusco. After knocking on the door, my classmate and I were greeted by our new family for the very first time. Our house mom warmly welcomed us with one kiss on each cheek as our new brother carried our bags through the indigo outdoor courtyard into our new rooms. As I settled in and started to take in my new surroundings, I began to embrace the change that the next few weeks would bring. Not only am I able to study culture from a more personal perspective, I have the opportunity to develop new relationships and practice my Spanish. This week, I also have the privilege of serving in the community. Through this service, I hope to gain a better understanding of others as well as a deeper understanding of myself and the values I would like to take with me in my future as a nurse. (originally published June 12, 2017)

New Familia and new surroundings


June 12, 2017
Faith Winston

After one flight, two busses, and one train ride we are finally here in Machu Picchu and I must say I am amazed. Upon arrival, we were informed about how ancient Incan people constructed the city with the use of advanced engineering, building, and farming skills. Then, we hiked a mountain that the locals call "Wayna Picchu" (mountain peak pictured directly behind the ancient city).

This experience reminded me of my past seven semesters of nursing school. The hike was difficult, it seemed impossible when I first saw how steep the mountain was. And once I began hiking, I was like "there's no way I can make it to the top". However with some positive self talk and some support from my amazing peers and faculty, I made the decision to take it one step at a time. We encouraged each other the whole way and we all had the same objective, we wanted to get to the top. Although it was hard, the view from the peak was worth every gasp for air, and every drop of sweat. That's honestly how I have felt since I have started nursing school. It's hard and occasionally, actually often I have wondered whether or not I'd make it to the end. But with the support of my community here I am starting my last semester of nursing school in the Fall and suddenly, I can see everything from a different perspective. I am close to the end and the view from here has been worth every late night, every cup of coffee, every event that I skipped to study, every tough lesson, every moment of doubt, and every 12 hour clinical day. All I have to say is no matter what your present journey may be, keep pushing because one day you'll be glad you did.

 


June 11, 2017
Faith Winston

Yesterday, we woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning to head to the airport in order to board our short flight from Lima to Cusco. Although I was tired on the plane from waking up early, I was energized by the view of the Andes outside of the window. It immediately became real to me, this place is beautiful and I am able to be a part of this amazing journey. This was my reminder to be present at every moment. A week has already passed, and I will do all that I can to make the remaining 3 weeks count. I will start at Machu Picchu tomorrow morning.


June 10, 2017
Faith Winston

It is unbelievable that one week has already passed since I landed in Lima! It was truly amazing visiting the beach, museums, cathedrals, and historical sites in the city. Our class discussions have also been eye opening for all of us. Through these conversations we have gained insight about one another and have learned to try and understand others and empathize with the different experiences that people have being from various cultural backgrounds.

The city of Lima has taught me so much, I have learned important skills as a tourist in a foreign country. Stepping out of my comfort zone has been a challenge, however it has helped me grow and has allowed me to start the process of learning a second language. I was able to learn enough Spanish to call taxis, order food, have basic conversations, and interview locals.

Lima has been so good to us, but I am also excited to make the journey to Cusco to hike Machu Picchu, meet my host family, and start service learning next week!


June 6, 2017
Faith Winston

Today after meeting for class and discussing culture, we visited The Cathedral of Lima. During our tour we were able to learn about the large influence that the church has had on the history of the city, as well as present day cultural elements. Learning about the intricate infrastructure as well as the time and creativity that it took in order to build the cathedral was my favorite part of this trip. The inside is filled with beautiful wooden pieces as well as detailed paintings. It is so refreshing to see the things that were happening on this side of the world during this time in history. This cathedral was undoubtedly one of the most intricate buildings I have seen during my time in Lima and I am excited to explore for my last few days in this city.


June 4, 2017
Faith Winston

My first full day in Peru was a perfect start to this trip. After sleeping in our new rooms for the first night, and sleeping off our jet lag we were ready to start our day with a class discussion. Our ASU faculty, Aliria and Rita welcomed us with some Peruvian hot chocolate to start off our first class. We then discussed Peruvian history and they provided us with information on the popular sites for art, history, dancing, music, and culture around the city. The best part of the day was when our class went to lunch as a group where we tasted several delicious Peruvian dishes. One of my favorite foods so far is called Lomo Saltado which is a traditional mix of steak and marinated vegetables served with a side of rice or risotto. So far, everything has been amazing in Peru. The food is delicious, the cars are fast, the buildings are colorful, and the people are kind. This week, I will continue to explore the city of Lima and learn more about culture, values, and how they affect us both as members of our communities and as healthcare professionals.


June 3, 2017
Faith Winston

After an 8-hour overnight flight, one movie, a few naps, two meals, and several conversations, we finally made a smooth landing in Lima at 7:45 a.m. We were greeted at the airport by a sweet woman named Ompara who gave us a small tour of the city as she led to our residencias and helped us settle in. I was assigned to live in a cozy apartment in Jesus Maria with four other ASU students. As a group, our living accommodations are all extremely unique varying from eccentric colorful villas to urban city apartments. Lima is beautiful and the tall apartments, busy coffee shops, and crowded streets remind me of Downtown Phoenix. So far, I have felt a strong sense of hospitality from the locals and I am excited to immerse myself in the culture and practice more Spanish. This week, we will be meeting for class discussions in the morning and going out in the city to visit several sites during the day. I am finally in this amazing country, and I now have the opportunity to learn more about myself and the many diverse people that I share this Earth with.

 


June 2, 2017
Faith Winston

As I departed from Los Angeles International Airport, I immediately felt a variety of emotions. Of course, I was filled with excitement and an eagerness to start the journey that I have been dreaming of since I started college. However, I was also extremely nervous! I was leaving the United States for the very first time without knowing anyone who would be going on the trip with me. I would also be getting on the longest flight on my life in just a few hours. After I checked my bag in, and said my goodbyes to my family, I was greeted by one familiar face after another. Although most of us had only met two times at pre-departure meetings, we spoke and acted as if we had already known one another. After leaving our loved ones behind and boarding our plane, we began to bond with the members of our new family that we would create in Perú. 

 


June 1, 2017
Faith Winston

Started packing today and I'm so excited to be able to explore healthcare from a global perspective this summer in Peru.

 

The valuable experiences that I gain will help me in my final semester as a nursing student, my whole career as a nurse, and throughout my whole life. While serving others, I get the opportunity to learn so much about others and myself. Not only is it an amazing feeling serving others, who wouldn't want to wear professional pajamas to work? It's pretty much a win, win situation.


June 1, 2017
Faith Winston

Hi!  My name is Faith Winston and I am a nursing student at the ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

I’m so excited I get to travel to Peru for a whole month with the second annual study abroad trip: “From Lima to Machu Picchu: Exploring Healthcare, Culture, and Ethics in Peru.”  Let’s see what happens when 18 ASU students head down to South America to gain first-hand experience with delivering health care!  I’ll be keeping track of my adventures here by sharing pictures, stories, and insights from me and the rest of my group of students and faculty.