"What you're learning about is what you're seeing when you go out into the world, especially when you do your internship.”
Kristi is a Family Social Science major who participated in the MSID program to Kenya. While there, she interned with an NGO that provides health education and services regarding HIV and AIDS. The experience added depth to her study of social issues, and changed where she sees herself after graduation.
Kristi found the academic aspects of the MSID program to be very practical. "What you learn about is what you are seeing when you go out into the world, especially when you do your internship," she said. "You can really put it into action later on." Her studies couldn't totally prepare her for working in the field, "You go into the rural area, and you just see things that are amazing, not describable. That's really what made my experience a positive one."
Working mostly in rural schools, Kristi educated students about HIV and AIDS. The NGO she worked with also encouraged her to make house visits to sick patients and host nutrition clinics. The experience was intense for her, but she found that she has an interest in continuing to work in public health when she returned to the US. "I'm actually probably going to go to grad school for public health, and do community health education, which is similar to what I did there. It changed what I want to do."
Kristi knew that going to Kenya would be a big change from her life at the University of Minnesota. “I thought it would be a good experience…really seeing something new that I knew I would never get to experience or see any other time in my life.”
By facing the challenges of her daily life in Kenya, Kristi felt she developed a new sense of confidence. “I can do whatever I want now. Even if it’s a big challenge, I feel like I can face it and I can do it.” Through the challenging work she faced at her internship, and through enjoyable moments spent with her host families and traveling with friends, Kristi came home with a variety of memories. The experience has become an important part of her outlook on life. “I think any new experience is always going to be positive. Even if it doesn’t seem great at one moment, overall it’ll be a good change. Something new is always good.”
Check out the Learning Abroad Center's MSID Kenya program.