A group of 24 pharmacy and nursing students and faculty recently returned from a nearly two-week study abroad experience in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands during May-June 2014. Fourteen students and three faculty (Dr. Rebecca Attridge, Dr. Russell Attridge, and Dr. Rebecca Brady) were from the Feik School of Pharmacy. It was a trip to remember, as we experienced the rich culture of Ecuador through educational sightseeing, healthcare visits, trekking and tubing through the Amazon, and exploring the wonders of the Galapagos Islands. Students took an elective course in the spring semester to prepare for the trip. Presentations and discussion boards focused on cultural traditions, educational systems, political/social happenings, and healthcare practices provided a background and frame of reference for everyone.
Our elective course and travels in South America accomplished two important objectives. First, pharmacy and nursing students developed interdisciplinary friendships and understandings that can be used throughout their schooling and careers. Second, we gained a better understanding of the Ecuadorian culture that may help us improve care, communication, and understanding with a more diverse group of patients. Study abroad opportunities are invaluable chances to experience the diverse and exciting world in which we live. Ecuador and its Galapagos Islands proved to be a land of wonders with rich history, culture, food, and experiences. We are thankful for a safe trip and the memories to serve a lifetime.