Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bittersweet Ending

Prior to the program, the research practicum sounded really intimidating to me because I had not had too much experience with research before. Having finished my independent project this past week, I can say with confidence that research was definitely one of my favorite aspects of the course. My group’s research involved looking into patients who visit the primary care clinics of the Coto Brus canton too often. These patients are called frequent users and our projects main objective was to create a definition and profile of these patients so that the Social Security Administration of Costa Rica can better manage the problem and control their budget deficit. This project gave me the opportunity to see how the universal healthcare system in Costa Rica runs first-hand. I got to interact and here opinions from various doctors, community health workers, and locals about the healthcare system which I thought was extremely interesting. Then getting to present our research to these same people was really rewarding because it was well-received and taken seriously. Our research presentation has given me the confidence to pursue research in the future.

The last leg of this journey has been a mix of different emotions. The past few weeks have been busy with independent projects, traveling, and enjoying the last moments together as a team. While I am excited to be going home to see my family and friends in a couple days, I am extremely sad about having to leave such a beautiful country. I have met some of the most incredible people on this program and am beyond thankful for the relationships that have stemmed from these past four months. I never would have thought that I would have gotten as close as I have to all thirteen of the girls on the program, this semester has truly been a special one. Every time someone mentions something related to us leaving, they immediately get scolded (jokingly, but not really) because no one wants face the fact that we’ll all be separated soon. On a brighter note, we have already planned a giant reunion on the east coast in October over our fall breaks which all happen to correspond on the same weekend. I am looking forward to the beginning of a long-standing tradition with these wonderful ladies.

Coming on this program has been one of the best decisions of my life. I have gotten so much exposure to many different aspect of biology and medicine and I would not trade the experiences I have had here for anything in the world.

Karina Handal

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