Diamond O'Neill's OGA Scholarship Testimonial

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Diamond feeding a peacockMy adventure to Morocco allowed me to have a wide variety of experiences many of which included destinations not on the typical tourist routes. I became educated on their healthcare system, had hands-on shadowing time with Moroccan doctors, nurses, and pharmacists for 3 days in rural villages servicing hundreds of patients in set up clinics. I measured and recorded the vitals of numerous patients including their blood pressure, pulse oximeter readings and blood sugar levels. Another two days were spent in the urban clinics, where I was in the room standing next to the surgeon during the performance of the following surgeries: hysterectomy, laparoscopic surgery for prostate cancer, open surgery for kidney stones, and caesarean section. Also, I went to a youth center where we taught Moroccan boys the proper method of brushing their teeth and painted dental fluoride on each tooth, as well as held conversations with them so that they could practice their English. Additionally, I spent time taking care of children in the orphanage which ranged in age from newborn to 10 yrs. old. All of these experiences were hugely meaningful to me personally, were significantly beneficial for my aspirations to become a pediatrician, and expanded my professional knowledge about the medical field.

Demonstrating oral hygiene techniquesThis study abroad program went beyond anything I could have expected and I know that I came back a better person because of this life-changing experience. I gained new perspectives on the world leading me to have more patience, tolerance, and grace for other people. Intense kindness, love, and compassion were sparked within me from seeing a genuine goodness in people that restored my faith in humanity. Studying abroad gave me clarity for myself about who I am, what my values are, what is important to me, and what I really want out of life. I learned that I enjoy meeting new people who are different than me and developed a deep calling to promote global tolerance and acceptance of other cultures. Working with an underserved population opened my eyes to their community needs and made me feel like a part of something important by participating. I realized how we are all similar as humans despite cultural differences and I discovered a desire within myself to establish unity among people based on the similarities that make us human while still celebrating the diversity of different cultures.

Enjoying a Moroccan feist!I am even more grateful for my life, my family, and the things that am fortunate enough to have. There is a certain amount of privilege that comes with being an American, even if you are like me, coming from a low-income home. I know I am still so blessed and doing far better than someone who doesn’t know what they will eat for the day or where they will sleep and it really puts things into perspective. I can already see in my own life that it has shaped the way I view things and interact with the world. I had mixed feelings upon witnessing global injustices because it was at times difficult to see people struggling right in front of me and knowing I would only be able to provide them with a temporary solution. I think contemplating these big questions and brainstorming ideas for solutions started me thinking more on a worldwide scale instead of only about where I have lived all my life. Perhaps, I can take small steps in my own corner of the world by spreading love and advancing my community in order to spark larger changes both foreign and domestically.