AaronCarter's Travel Journals


What do you want to do the next time you travel abroad?

learn a language, volunteer in a needy community, experience a new culture through volunteering, go sightseeing, meet new people, gain professional experience, change the world [somehow]

  • 29 years old
  • From Minnesota, United States
  • Currently in Oaxaca, Mexico


Pre-trip preparations and the reality that this is actually happening.

Two weeks before departure.

United States Minnesota, United States  |  Apr 16, 2012
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 ...if nothing else the one thing I hope to gain is something that textbooks cannot sufficiently convey, and that is perspective. 

It seems as though every day the reality of leaving for Mexico sets in just a little more. As the end of the semester is coming to a close with my first final tomorrow morning, it is difficult for me not to think about the summer ahead. It has been very helpful to be in communication with some of the participants currently in or heading to Oaxaca. I am sure these feelings of nervousness and excitement will only intensify as the date of departure nears. I must admit that the thing of most concern right now is my Spanish speaking ability. With only two semesters of high school Spanish and one semester of college Spanish two years ago, the idea of speaking primarily Spanish for three months is slightly daunting. I have attempted to review some of what I have learned in the past, a little each day but with the overwhelming nature, that is nursing school, being my top priority, it has been difficult to concentrate on anything but. I am very much looking forward to developing my Spanish skills but most of all learning about the health care system in Oaxaca. 

I must admit that it is difficult not to create preconceived ideas about what this summer will be like. However, I am doing my best to keep an open mind and be ready for anything.  I hope to make whatever contribution that I can, with the clinical knowledge and experience that I have attained over the past four years, both in nursing school and working in the hospital lab. But if nothing else the one thing I hope to gain is something that textbooks cannot sufficiently convey, and that is perspective. Perspective is defined in the dictionary as "The state of one's ideas, or the facts known [only] to one," a product of experiences. Perspective is not something that can be taught in a classroom but yet remains just as important, it contributes to how we interpret the world that we live in, is often the basis of how we approach a problem and offer solutions, but most of all it also gives us reason and motivation for our actions. Why do we do what we do? Is it out of our own wisdom (experiences) or, more often as I feel in my case, the lack thereof? We have so many disciplines dedicated to such questions, from psychologists to sociologists and anthropologists, all looking for that special equation or the missing variable that will explain human nature.

During the last three years, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of information about clinical nursing. While reading hundreds of pages of text each week, it is often easy to forget the underlying purpose (perspective) of putting in so many hours of reading and studying day after day. Often times text is just text and the underlying premise for studying is to pass the next test, the feeling of applicability even with onsite clinical experience seems to wane after reading thousands of assigned pages. However, it is only a matter of time before reality slaps me in the face and suddenly I am thrown into the world of healthcare, given a patient, and expected to appropriately care for them. In only seven days I hope to have a refreshing reminder about the reality and the reason for putting in so many hours in the library and taking countless tests. I went into nursing to work with those who have little access to health care, working with those who do not have the means to access it, whether monetary or access to transportation. However, I would be a fool to think that I would be giving them more than what they would be giving me (perspective).

A couple of weeks ago, during one of my clinical rotations the nurse that I was shadowing for the day stated, “Experience is something that a you cannot replace,” and although at the time, she was talking about nursing, this can be applied to so many other aspects of life and it is impossible to gain experience (perspective) without taking that first step. I look forward to the challenges and learning opportunities ahead, while taking that first step.

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  • Two weeks before departure.

    April 16, 2012
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