Alumni Spotlight: Merna Mohamed

Merna aspires to become an ophthalmologist and is currently studying Health Sciences with a concentration in Global and Comparative Public Health.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I've studied abroad before but I've never interned abroad. I thought it would be an interesting way of spending my summer learning as well as gaining hands on experience in a completely different country.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

My university sat me down and made sure that I had enough credits to apply for this program and receive credits in return. That way it would be double the gain in the sense that I would have work experience and also academic credit that turned out to be worth two courses at my university.

Pretty much everything else was on my own; all the way from applying to my internship program to getting my visa. However, my program provider (ISA) was very helpful with guiding me whenever I became confused or worried along the way.

They also were able to answer my never ending questions all the time!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would say apply early, ask a lot of questions, pack enough to have space for souvenirs, and have fun!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I work Monday through Thursday from about 8 am to 4:30 pm. The evenings and three day weekends are for us to do traveling, sightseeing, and whatever else we'd like.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was not being able to make connections. I've definitely overcome this; it's hard to not make connections when Kiwi's are so friendly!

I've learned that I was already stepping out of my comfort zone by participating in an internship abroad, that it would be silly for me not to make the connections while I'm here.

How has interning abroad affected you?

This internship has affected me in so many different ways.

I learned to rely on the public transport system (which I don't do at home), I learned that people are much friendlier here, I've learned to enjoy the little things, I've learned so much professionally/medically, and most importantly I've learned how to step out of my comfort zone and try new things without hesitating.

New Zealand is absolutely beautiful!