My Time in Rwanda

Academics: 4
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Housing: 7
Safety: 8

For me, the phrase, “Rwanda is people,” is something that I witnessed firsthand during my time in the country. Reality started to set in once I heard some locals share their stories about how their lives were impacted by the genocide that took place just over 20 years ago. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, it was rare to hear people openly discuss in detail what they experienced. However, I also surprised by the willingness of some people to share their stories without any reservations. For example, one of our Rwandan coordinators from G.E.I, shared with us the story of how her family fled during the time of the genocide while she was just a small child. It was truly sobering to hear her share the small details of this experience that she still remembers. Some of the University of Rwanda students who we came to know during the internship were also open to discussing how the genocide affected their families. I think it’s important that the memory of the genocide remains within the hearts of the people – not just for grieving but also for healing. Visiting the genocide museum reinforced this idea and really helped me understand how Rwandan culture has evolved. The people in Rwanda have many great and powerful stories to tell – we just need to listen to them. This is what I tried to do during my time there. Sometimes, with a lot of preconceived notions about the people of a different country, it can be too easy to assume that you already understand the locals. But more important than talking to them, is listening to their point of view. Especially within the context of Infection Control and Prevention, I did my best to listen to what the healthcare workers had to share with us. It could have been easy for us to focus on what was lacking in certain areas regarding IPC, but instead, I think we encouraged positive interactions with the healthcare workers and emphasized the importance of improving, regardless of where you live. By listening to them, I was inspired by their utilization of the resources that were available to them. The healthcare workers were dedicated and diligent. I hope to be able to follow their examples during my own career in the medical field. I also made many friends with locals and those involved in our program. Thanks to the internet and the ease of global communication, I hope to maintain these great relationships for the rest of my life. Overall, I learned a lot from the people of Rwanda. If I were to sum it all up shortly, I would say the biggest lesson I learned from them is the importance of unity. Rwanda is not only a people, but they are one people, united to help the country progress sustainably into the future.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed