2020 – 2023
Select the photos below to read each testimonial.
Select the photos below to read each testimonial.
Select the photos below to read each testimonial.
"When I departed for our trip to Greece I didn’t know anyone going on the trip. This encouraged me to meet knew people. I did have fellow nursing students with me but they were either a semester ahead of me in the curriculum or behind me. I was glad to meet new people but at the same time scared to have to put myself out there. Little did i know, how much not knowing anyone going on the trip, would allow me to really embrace the culture and get to know other students in diﬀerent majors. The pharmacy students on the trip I particular wanted to get to know. This is due to the fact to how close I will be working with them in my future nursing career.
I was happy to learn about their career and how I can work more eﬃciently with pharmacist. I really enjoyed learning more about the Greek culture. I loved how welcoming and genuine the residents were in Greece. Everyone I talked to were happy to talk to me and get to know more about American culture. Getting to know more people and the beauty of Greece were not the only things that made me want to go on this trip. Mostly it was the mission of this trip that made me really want to go to Greece. I was grateful to be able to help the less fortunate population with my nursing skills. I learned that not only the physical skills I had were helpful, but truly it was my listening skills that really allowed me to learn from them. I’m so grateful for all the experiences I had on this trip."
Alexandra Killian, Nursing Student
"This program was nothing short of amazing! I had a unique experience coming as a graduate of Auburn Nursing, but I hope to be a nurse that never stops seeking out new opportunities for personal and professional grown and this program was just that! It was interesting to learn about the roles of a nurse in Greece, and how the Greek healthcare system compares to the US. I learned a lot from the way Doctors of the World overcame language barriers with patients and especially how they anticipated their patients needs above and beyond just physical medical care.
These experiences definitely gave me a lot of opportunity to think about how I can be a better nurse and advocate for my patients, and be more resourceful, especially working in the settings I do where we often do have more resources at our disposal than we did at our clinical sites in Greece. Experiencing this program went above and beyond my expectations – I walked away with great new friends, experiences that will benefit my nursing practice and patients, and a grown awareness and appreciation for the work organizations like Doctors of the World do. I loved my time in nursing school, so i’m super thankful for the opportunity to stay connected and continue learning with AUCON in a different way!"
Allie Loehr, Nursing Alumni
"As faculty, the trip to Greece was impactful witnessing students experience things for the first time. The students made friendships and memories that will last a lifetime and I am blessed to have been able to observe that. On a personal level, the trip to Greece was informative and educational as I learned more about their health system and the challenges that citizens have accessing healthcare. I learned a tremendous amount about the refugee situation in Greece and how they are providing to those in need.
This experience left me feeling humbled by the hope and strength I saw in the refugees and ignited a desire to be more active in the homeless community in Auburn. The slower pace of meal time has helped me be more present and to enjoy the moments happening around you. I’m thankful for the new friendships I made with fellow faculty members from other colleges across the Auburn University campus and am forever grateful for this experience I was given!"
Dr. Andrea Smith, Assistant Clinical Professor, College of Nursing
"The week I spent in Greece with Auburn Abroad was absolutely life changing. Although we went through an absolute roller coaster of emotions throughout the week, I can say nothing other than the trip was exactly what we needed. We experienced the wonderful parts of Greece, but we also were able to see the challenges that vulnerable populations experience in this country. I think my favorite aspect of the trip was the balance of being able to learn and serve others while still having plenty of time to explore Greece after. Being able to see the refugee camps in Greece and the Greek policy on healthcare really opened my eyes to a new global perspective that I can value and use to examine with the healthcare system in the U.S..
I could not even imagine the pain and suffering some of these families had to go through before coming to the refugee camps, and I was pleasantly surprised how kind and optimistic they seemed when we interacted with them. I know for a fact that after witnessing them, I can take what I learned and apply it to being a better healthcare worker. As I leave Greece, I will take many parts of this trip with me when I enter healthcare and allow my
new knowledge to help me become an even better nurse. I am beyond thankful to have been on this trip. War Eagle!"
Anna Fuentes, Nursing Student
"Going to Athens, Greece this summer was a very good choice for me. I have been to Athens before, but I never experienced it like this. We spent a whole week in the city taking in the sites, learning about the culture, giving back to the community, and stuffing our bellies. Helping others is the reason I joined the healthcare field to begin with and this trip felt very rewarding because I was given the chance to help out a lot more people than just those in my community. Helping at the refugee camps, shadowing the doctors at the polyclinic, and helping the homeless people down by the port were all new experiences for me that helped me grow as a person and as a professional.
I learned that Greece is a safe haven for many refugees fleeing from many different countries, and being able to help people feel welcomed, safe, and healthy is a very heartwarming experience. I think the volunteers for Doctor’s of the World are the most amazing people for doing what they do, and I am very grateful to have met them and to have learned from them. When I become a pharmacist, I hope I am as selfless, passionate, and courageous as them."
Ashley Sbarra, Pharmacy Doctoral Candidate
"I was able to attend the global outreach trip to Athens, Greece through Auburn University. I was able to experience diversity through working with the vulnerable populations of Athens. We were able to partner with the Doctors of the World. We did street work, went to refugee camps, and assisted in the clinic with the Doctors of the World. There were a wide range of populations and not many of them spoke English. I could not even begin to fathom some of the stories that I heard. We were able to have meaningful conversations with the diverse community in Athens.
We helped the homeless, did HIV/STI tests, and watched assessments in the clinic. Throughout this experience, I learned it is important to use all of your resources when working with populations that do not speak the same language as you. I also learned how to sympathize with patients of non-English speaking populations. We were able to experience the culture in Athens and were able to see sites such as the Acropolis, Olympia, and take a trip to Delphi. I am so thankful I was able to attend this global outreach trip."
Carson Ann Crow, Nursing Student
"My experience with Auburn Outreach Global in Greece provided me with many diversity skills. We partnered with Doctors of the World, a nonprofit organization that provides emergent and long-term medical care to vulnerable people groups including refugees from Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Africa to name a few. I was able to assist in the polyclinic, provide medical testing in a refugee camp and offer medical care doing street-work. Time spent in the refugee camps gave me a new understanding of cultural awareness and sensitivity. The people living in the camps have successfully escaped their homeland from violence or natural disaster. While in the camp, they are registered as a refugee and wait for a green card from the government. They receive housing, free meals, and the children receive education.
I learned that once the refugees receive a green card, most become homeless because they must provide for themselves. I began to understand that the people residing in this refugee camp feel the most safe and secure there. The gratitude expressed from the refugees after providing medical testing was very encouraging. Time spent in the polyclinic allowed me to gain more of an understanding for the Greek healthcare system. I was able to help a Russian pediatrician with assessments, routine vaccinations, and referrals. Doctors of the World provides a unique opportunity to give medical care to these refugees. This encourages health promotion for the refugees and can positively impact the health in Greece. The refugee camp and polyclinic allowed me to gain cultural competency and a heart for caring for vulnerable people groups. I am very grateful for this service-learning opportunity with Auburn Outreach Global!"
Catherine Parma, Nursing Student
"I am so appreciative that I got the opportunity to participate in the Auburn Outreach Global Greece Summer experience. As a nurse, now professor, I enjoy any activity where I can combine my love of providing care for those less fortunate with my love of teaching. The trip to Greece was a perfect combination of my passions. I got to see my students interact with people from very different backgrounds and do so with the care and attention of great professional nurses. While the scope of practice of nurses in Greece differs from that of American nurses, the two fields are still based in the same desire to provide care.
The most impact part of the trip for me was our day working in the refugee camp. Going into this experience, I had a pre-conceived notion of what a refugee camp would be like. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the refugee camp was a much more positive place than I imagined. I got to see the community that the refugees had built and the way they continually show resilience in spite of their refugee status. While the beautiful Greek architecture and cuisine were also highlights of the trip, my time in the refugee camps definitely left the biggest impact on me."
Dr. Chris Martin, Assistant Clinical Professor, College of Nursing
"Throughout the trip, we were constantly challenged in learning the different protocols and about the culture. There were many instances where I felt pushed outside of my comfort zone. One specific moment was when I was assisting another student on the trip dress a wound. I had never done this before, so I followed her lead and handed her the materials. One of the midwives was helping us and explained why the sores on his feet had gotten so bad. It was because he had taken his bandages off after she treated his wounds the first time. Because he was homeless, he did not have shoes; therefore, his wounds could not be protected without his bandages. The interaction between the patient and midwife is seen in healthcare everywhere in the sense that the patient is also responsible for keeping up with their treatment and following the doctor’s order. Not only was he grateful towards us for cleaning his wounds, but I was grateful for him and his positive attitude towards everyone in the clinic.
This program allowed me to interact with the nurses and doctors associated with Doctors of the World. I was given the opportunity to ask them questions whether it was about their culture or diagnosis of a patient. They allowed me to understand the process of a refugee transitioning into civilization as well as the dangers of the journey thousands of them make everyday to reach asylum. This trip and program allowed me to see healthcare in a new way and pushed me to challenge my perspective on bedside manner. I was able to learn more about myself as well as the people I was working with. This experience solidified my passion for helping others and wanting to pursue a future in healthcare."
Elizabeth Bertram, COSAM Student
"I would like to start this reflection by saying how blessed and thankful I am that I had the opportunity to attend such an eye-opening service learning trip. I truly do believe that the students were able to make powerful impacts in the peoples’ lives that we encountered during our outreach days. I really enjoyed how for the three days of our outreach that we were able to do very different things each day. I feel this allowed us to not only deepen our knowledge and our understanding of the different lifestyles, but it also deepened our experience with healthcare in other nations as we were able to see a wide range of groups of people in different circumstances each day. I enjoyed how one day we volunteered at a polyclinic, another day we conducted street work to provide medications and food and water to the homeless, and another day we traveled to a refugee camp to conduct free testing for sexually transmitted diseases among the refugees living at the camps.
I thought it was very smart how each group went to a different refugee camp as this allowed for us to reach more people across Greece and spread care to people at multiple different camps. These experiences opened my eyes to the many differences among healthcare in the United States compared to healthcare in other countries such as Greece. This was not only a very special experience, but also an experience that many people do not have access to. In addition to the outreach days, I also appreciated how we had days dedicated to learning about the culture and the history of Athens, Greece by going to the Acropolis, meeting with Doctors of the World, and meeting with the mayor of Athens. I also enjoyed how we had plenty of free time which allowed us to further experience their culture, cuisine, and towns. I would highly recommend this trip to upcoming students if they have the opportunity as it taught me so much not only about myself, but also about other healthcare departments."
Emilie Brown, Nursing Student
"The opportunity to serve abroad with the Auburn University College of Nursing and Outreach Global was an incredibly unique and rewarding experience that I will look back on and cherish long after I graduate from Auburn University. I learned so much on this trip about my classmates, healthcare in Greece, as well as Greek history and culture. The interactions I had with students within my own cohort, other nursing cohorts, and students within different majors helped me form meaningful connections with my peers.
As a group, we were immersed in the Greek healthcare system, where we were able to observe various settings in which healthcare professionals work, thanks to collaboration with Doctors of the World. We also learned how to communicate with people of various backgrounds, cultures, and with those who spoke foreign languages. Outside of the healthcare setting, my friends and I learned about the culture in Athens, Greece through visiting historical sites, dining in local restaurants, and learning to navigate the city. The experiences that I had in Greece will remain with me after graduation, as they have helped me gain a greater understanding of healthcare on a global scale and of communicating with diverse populations. Overall, I am extremely grateful for this experience!"
Emily Larsen, Nursing Student
"Thinking and reflecting back on my time in Greece, I gained a broader perspective on our world, as it relates to healthcare and beyond. This experience allowed us as a group to learn more about the culture in Athens, Greece, as well as surrounding countries in which refugees were fleeing from. One large takeaway from this trip is the significance of a simple smile.
In many of the places where we were volunteering, there was a language barrier. In those moments, I never realized how much I took for granted living in an area where the majority of people speak the same language. At the refugee camp we were at, they spoke French, Arabic, and Greek. In those moments where there was not a translator present, you have to get creative how to communicate and allow those you are taking care of to trust you.
Something I continually found myself falling back on was a simple smile. Whether it was a child or an adult, they almost always smiled back with pure joy. Even though we did not have the commonality of our nationality or language, a smile is universal. At the end of the day, we all want to be loved, seen, and known, whether that is in Athens, Greece, or Auburn, Alabama. To be able to serve the communities in Athens, with our hands, words, ears, and smiles, was a blessing."
Erin Denenberg, Nursing Student
"The service-learning program in Greece was a wonderful and inspirational experience. I was given the profound opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture while working alongside Doctors of the World. This program was perfectly suited for me because I am driven to make a difference in the lives of others. This was a very eye-opening experience that had an excellent impact on my life. Being able to whiteness patient care in a foreign healthcare system gave me a newfound appreciation for the medical services we are provided here in the states. One of the most memorable parts of the trip was the opportunity to visit a refugee camp. I was never able to properly comprehend this system until I saw it in person. Working directly with people from a variety of backgrounds taught me the need of empathy and cultural sensitivity in healthcare delivery. Even though we were only there for a limited amount of time, I felt as if our actions made a difference in these people’s lives.
Overall, the program broadened my perspective and helped me better comprehend the complexity of healthcare. It also strengthened my dedication to serve others in the healthcare industry. I definitely will do something similar to this again."
Isabel Smith, Liberal Arts Student
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Greece during the service-learning program. I was able to interact with a different population while having the opportunity to provide nursing care. We learned that nurses in Greece have a much smaller scope of practice than in the United States. This made me grateful for everything we are able to do here but it also helped me to understand the Grecian medical system better. My favorite thing we got to do was the street walk opportunity. During this, we were able to walk through a section of Greece with a high volume of homeless individuals.
We provided them with simple medical care and a meal, but that was not the part that stood out to me. Getting to talk with these people and learn about their lives was what I remember the most. They were so happy to have people to speak with and share their stories. However, it also made an impact on me. The whole trip was a very eye-opening experience and I am so glad I had the opportunity to attend. I will now practice nursing with a different perspective and lots of new knowledge."
Kate Campbell, Nursing Student
"I am forever changed by the Greece 2023 trip. This trip left a lasting impact on my life as it did many others. Getting to see the way the refugees in Greece live really opened my eyes and heart. We take so many things for granted that are a luxury to these people. My favorite and most impactful memory was going to the refugee camps and walking around with people that live there. There was a little girl there who was 9 years old, and she spoke 5 different languages. She walked around with us and helped translate. She was so happy and joyful, even in her living situation.
Doctors of the World is an amazing group of people that have opened their arms and welcomed these refugees and have given them the healthcare that they deserve. We got to walk around and hear about the amazing history of Greece, which was really interesting. The mayor and deputy mayor of Greece talked to us about how hard they are working to improve the living in Greece, especially for the homeless people. Being able to hear them talk about what goes on was very eye opening. I am so thankful for the opportunity to have gone on this trip and will always cherish the memories that were made."
Keller Dunnam, Nursing Student
"The Auburn Outreach Global Medical trip in Athens Greece trip was an incredible experience that I won’t ever forget. It is certainly one of my top favorite moments in Auburn’s Nursing Program. I enjoyed getting to collaborate with students/faculty from the pharmacy, forestry, education, and biomedical science majors while serving abroad. This served as a great avenue for multidisciplinary communication with providers as well as therapeutic touch when interacting with the refugee population in Athens. I am grateful to have collaborated with ‘Doctors of the World,’ a non-profit humanitarian organization, to provide free health screenings and STI testing within refugee camps; volunteer within an outpatient-style polyclinic; and engage in street-side healthcare and medical services in addition to patient education among the homeless population.
In addition to service while abroad, we also went site-seeing. While the Acropolis was quite beautiful and grand, my favorite spot we toured was the original Olympic Stadium. As a student-athlete on the Auburn Track and Field team, it was so thrilling and special to stand in that arena. It’s every athlete’s dream to get the chance to stand where it all started. Further, this trip reinforced the power of multidisciplinary collaboration and therapeutic communication/interpretation. I found this to be an invaluable lesson that I will take into my career and share with others along the way. The atmosphere in Athens was so electric, I can’t wait for the chance to go back!"
Lalah Rose Hasbrouk, Human Sciences Student
"Whether we were playing basketball with schoolchildren in Arachova, testing patients for HIV in the blistering heat of Malakasa refugee camp, swimming in Lake Vouliagmeni, or learning about Greece's healthcare and civil society with Athens City Hall members, this was an experience unlike anything I had done before. Visiting the Malakasa refugee camp was particularly rewarding. Although images that portray life in refugee camps are typically void of ambition, I realized that every person there has a story and a voice of hope and perseverance, despite the hardships they’ve endured. Additionally, talking with locals and being able to fully immerse myself in Greek culture allowed me to appreciate what I have since they live lives that rely on few material items, develop a greater sense of empathy for others, and expand my perspective on life.
The time I spent in Greece was truly advantageous to my development as an undergraduate student, and although I do not plan on pursuing a career in nursing, this experience provided me the chance to be educated in a variety of learning environments and areas. Obtaining the skills to navigate different cultures and environments will certainly support my future endeavors. Overall, this experience was incredibly rewarding and took me out of my comfort zone. Our team, made up of students, professors, and Outreach Global Staff, as well as the Greece team, was able to work as a cohesive group to make this a successful and unforgettable trip."
Landrum Brown, Forestry and Wildlife Science Student
"Overall, this program has had a significant impact on my life. Although I am not in the healthcare field, I still found this opportunity to be extremely beneficial to my life experience. I knew going into this, there would be a bit of a culture shock, but actually being there in person, I was able to experience other cultures firsthand. Their way of life differs than what I am used to in so many aspects. Specifically, I was shocked at the lack of sex education in Greece, especially regarding the transmission of AIDS/HIV/STDS.
I think the most eye-opening experience, while being there, was visiting the refugee camp. The program helped me realize how thankful I am for all that I have and reaffirmed my desire of wanting to make a positive difference in people’s lives. I am going to look more into the humanitarian aspect of environmental crises. I hope to possibly work with more refugee camps in the future. I met two little girls who were seeking refuge from Iran and Iraq. Although, we did not speak the same language, those young girls left a permanent bittersweet imprint on my heart. The girls along with the others at the refugee camp made me realize that even the simplest acts of kindness can go a long way. Even though these people have endured tragedies I cannot possibly fathom, our group’s presence and simple conversations were able to put smiles on their faces. At the end of the day, we are all just humans. I am eternally thankful for this opportunity, and I will forever cherish the memories I made there."
Lucy Lawrence, COSAM Student
"I thought I knew what to expect, even though this was my first trip to Europe.
My grandfather is a globe-trotter and he has told me many stories about his trips abroad, which I thought gave me an idea of what to expect when I went to Greece. However, after the first couple of days I realized that all of his stories could’ve never prepared me for this trip, at least not fully.
Athens itself was a sight to behold, it’s so big that even now I have a hard time explaining it to others. What I soon discovered, was that the people of Greece have a heart even bigger than the city of Athens!
From the first day to the very last, the people we came into contact with while visiting Greece and working with Doctors of World made us feel so welcome and loved! I know we were only there for 10 days, but by the end of the trip I felt like I had been there for a month, and that I had known these people for a lot longer than a few days. We were greeted by everyone as if we were family and taken care of just the same. Being able to work with and learn from Doctors of the World taught me so many things and reminded me of one important thing: healthcare doesn’t always have to do with a person’s actual health!
I was not expecting so much love, knowledge, and comradery to come out of this trip, but I am so thankful that it did! The people of Greece filled me up as much as I wanted to fill them up, and by doing so reminded me that there is so much more to healthcare and what we learn about in the classroom."
Marlee Brothers, Pharmacy Doctoral Candidate
"As a teacher educator, I learned so much from the Auburn Outreach Global Greece trip. Collaborating with nursing and pharmacy faculty illuminated similarities in our work. Working alongside students that were engaged in practical, hands on experiences while also learning about differences in health care systems around the world was powerful. It was especially powerful to learn about the nonprofit work of Doctors of the World in supporting people through clinics, counseling, refugee camps, and homeless wellness checks.
The relationships they form and their consistent presence in the community is something that is important in both healthcare and education. I shared some of the things I learned about education and social issues in Greece in my class this week. As students noted multiple times, this experience was a wonderful reminder of the importance of the human connection, learning with and from others, and respect for the similarities and differences we share with others."
Dr. Megan Burton, Professor, College of Education
"The Global Outreach trip to Athens, Greece was truly an enlightening and one-of-a-kind experience with memories I will hold with me for years to come. Being able to work alongside Doctors of the World Greece was an outstanding opportunity and really allowed me to understand how the healthcare system functions in Greece, and showed me what Doctors of the World provides to those in all different countries. This trip allowed me to go to new places I would have never seen on my own. Working in a Polyclinic, arranging medical attention for those who are homeless, setting up a free clinic at a refugee camp and, most importantly, providing a friendly face to those who are struggling was life changing.
One takeaway from my service during my time there, is that I should always work on being a better nurse, but, at the same time, remain a humble person. I have learned that many little things in my life can be something that someone else strives to have and, because of this, I should always remember to not take anything for granted. Overall, this trip was not only informational but also eye-opening! I hope to continue to learn and be given opportunities to show kindness to others because you never know what someone may have gone through, or may be going through."
Neleh Stensrud, Nursing Student
"The 2023 Greece Service-Learning Program was indeed impactful and rewarding to me personally and professionally. It was a privilege to accompany my colleagues and students to Athens, Greece to serve those in need of physical resources and mental support. Inter-professional collaboration with university personnel and the Doctors of the World organization was a testament that those committed to make a positive change in the world are able to achieve it by showing up and reaching out to others.
all who desire to “be the change” that makes the world a better place to participate in service learning
programs. Sometimes the teacher becomes the student and it’s great because we all learn together!"
Dr. Pamela Short, Assistant Clinical Professor, College of Nursing
"The Greece Service Learning trip provided me with several different unique experiences that I will never forget. I was able to learn about the Greek healthcare system as well as different populations within the system. I had the opportunity to visit a refugee camp and provide services to those individuals. This was such a rewarding experience and really opened my eyes to this particular population. I also really enjoyed learning about Doctors of the World and the work that they do not just in Greece, but in different countries as well.
I was able to walk with members of Doctors of the World and provide medical screenings and pass out food and water to homeless individuals. It is an amazing feeling knowing that I was able to help contribute to their organization in some way and help these vulnerable populations. It was also amazing to have the opportunity to explore the city of Athens and to make new friends during my study abroad who also shared my passion for service and interest in the healthcare field. This experience has given me tools and experience that I will take with me as I start my career in nursing this year."
Reagan Sahlman, Nursing Student
"The service learning trip to Athens, Greece was an experience like no other. Here I was met with many situations that pushed me out of my comfort zone. The most meaningful day I had was when we visited the refugee camp in Malakasa, Greece. I was overcome by so many emotions the moment I stepped foot inside the camp. Seeing the children and families who came to Greece to seek safety from their home country made me feel things that I cannot describe. I saw heartbreak and hurt in their faces, but I also saw joy and relief at the same time. This experience allowed me to meet people in their most vulnerable state. I heard stories of people who traveled thousands of miles on foot to make it to the Greece border, stories of people watching family members die on the journey, and stories of their new beginnings in a new country. There was one picture I took that I will remember forever. The picture itself is nothing special, but the message it portrays is. A UNICEF sign was located on the outside of the school on camp.
UNICEF stands for United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. It is a humanitarian aid organization that provides funding and resources to children in need around the world. I remember learning about this organization in class and thinking how amazing an organization like this is but wondering how exactly it works. Little did I know a few months later I would see this sign at the refugee camp I was visiting. To me this picture symbolizes hope. Hope that one day all children will be cared for. Hope that the world still has good people who fight for its children. Visiting this camp filled me with so many feelings. I will never know how these people feel, but I can do everything I can to help them anyway. I left Malakasa with a world view much different than the one I came with. My heart is softened towards these people and this location. I left with a grieving heart, but one also full of joy and full of hope."
Sara Underwood, Nursing Student
"These outreach efforts continue to amaze me. I have stated this before and I will say it again. I know we were born to bring light to others and to always leave others better than we found them. We were born to serve. The Greece Service-Learning Project gave me the opportunity to do just that. In addition to visiting a beautiful country, the people were amazing. I enjoyed the culture and the ability to meet so many incredible, loving, people. Every person whose life we touched, while in the clinic, doing street work, or in the refugee camps was an opportunity to serve.
We often take life and our health for granted, yet I could not help but think that this could be me who needed the help instead. Serving alongside the Doctors of The World was a great experience. I loved how they supported a mission to meet the needs of the less fortunate. I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked with so many amazing students, faculty, and healthcare partners in Greece. Thank you Outreach Global and Dr. Elizabeth Quansah and her team for such an amazing outreach effort. My life has been forever changed."
Dr. Valarie Thomas, Outreach Coordinator, Outreach Global
"I was a bit skeptical going into this experience but I was presently surprised by the trip. I was excited to immerse myself in another culture and that is exactly what I was able to do. I took the public transit almost everywhere I went and was able to have conversations with the local Athenians. This was exactly what I was looking for on this trip.
I was able to make a ton of new friends who were studying a variety of topics and we were able to discuss what we observed on a daily basis. I will never forget the memories I made on the trip. The work on the trip was much more intellectual than hands on which made me think a lot. Getting to see another side of healthcare was very interesting. I got to see a whole new way of doing things and this was very impactful for me."
Will Prophitt, Pharmacy Doctoral Candidate
“The 2020 Ghana Healthcare Program was my first international experience. I had never been outside of the continental United States before. Natural caution and the admonishing of others had prepared me for the culture shock that was expected to await me in Ghana. However, I wouldn’t describe what I encountered as culture shock.
Things were different than I was accustomed, to be sure: new foods, languages, and motorist habits that mimicked the complexity of worker bees. But each unfamiliar experience was accompanied by something that was familiar and reassuring—the love and smiles of the Ghanaian people, languages they spoke fluently.
In the short time that has passed since the Auburn University team returned to the United States, life has changed drastically. A global pandemic has made the world paradoxically feel both suffocating and infinitely large. However, the Ghana Healthcare Program experience is a constant reminder that regardless how separated people might appear, care and love for one’s neighbor is intrinsically human and bridges the divide between us.”
Aaron Carpenter, MPA Outreach Coordinator, Outreach Global
My experience in Ghana this year was one that I will not forget. The communities we visited welcomed us and greeted us with open arms. We were able to assist the community and supply resources that are not easy accessible to the community and provide healthcare to those who do not have access. While in Ghana, we were able to learn about the history and indulge in the culture by visiting museums and visiting various places. This experience taught me that cultural context is crucial in patient-centered care, so learning about the culture through visiting museums, cultural sites, and speaking with community members taught me how patients there prioritized health care. By understanding patient priorities, I will be better able to assist patients and this opportunity helped with that. Loved being immersed in the community while working at the healthcare clinic and communicating with the local community.
Abby Campbell, Nursing Student
Outreach Global Ghana 2020
Amongst all the brown, there is so much color
So much color and vibrance!
At first glance, in Accra all you see is a lot of brown dirt and the brown dusty market stalls. Even many house on the way to Sekondi-Takoradi were just small brown boxes that people lived in. But, what I was able to see and experience by this Outreach Global trip was all the color and vibrancy that Ghana really has to offer. Outwardly, you see that most of the clothes and jewelry are very colorful but by getting to really know some of the people, you realize how colorful and vibrant the people are inside as well. I was so amazed by their inward beauty, their happiness, hospitality and joy! Everyone was so excited to see our group and always so welcoming. Even more importantly, they were so appreciative of what we could provide. I left with a great appreciation for everything I have and take for granted on a daily basis such as air condition, clean water, and sanitation services. I am sure I will never look at a trash can the same again. It also showed me what I and my students, the whole group actually, is capable of without electricity and air condition. When we lost electricity and air, no one ever blinked or complained. We all just kept working and serving the people who were there to see us. We were a well-oiled machine and a great group to be with. I was so proud and impressed with all of us. It was such an amazing and inspiring experience, I would go back again in a hear beat. It proved to me that life is really just a beautiful rainbow.
Dr. Allison Chung
I was asked to write about how this trip changed my life, and at first, I tried to come up with some grand way, some beautiful way that would take your breath away. I wanted to woo the people reading this by the awe-inspiring way I was changed. But the more I thought about it the more I couldn’t come up with something so groundbreaking. Until it dawned on me, this trip showed me that throughout the heat and lukewarm water, people didn’t have a lukewarm joy, but rather a burning fire to seek help, to get better, to be better. I saw a boy whose father was reddened with fear wondering why his son was falling behind in school, I saw elders eager to see if their blood pressure is finally under control, I saw moms with their babies and children helping their younger siblings. Even with so many surface deep differences these people all shared one thing, joy. And that’s when I realized my “earth shattering moment.” It wasn’t anything grand or big or dramatic, but rather brought a small smile to my face. I was reminded that no matter where you are in life joy can be found. America is so different than Ghana, we run, run, run, and never slow down. But these people moved to the beat of their own drum. We went to their Independence Day celebration one morning and the pride they had for their own country was beautiful. Another day we visited a school for children with special needs, and these children were so joyful. I was swept away by a few of them to a room where we gave out stuffed animals and danced our hearts out. These children were thrilled to have us there, my awful dance moves and all, they were overjoyed. This trip may not by the easiest, but the joy you will leave with will stay with you forever. Although the days are long and you’ll sweat out more than you thought possible, it is more than worth it. Bring lots of snacks and be ready to work because you will not want to leave these people once you meet them.
The 2020 Summer Ghana trip was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. It put a lot of things into perspective for me and made me realize just how lucky and blessed I have it. During the trip we got to go on many cultural excursions such as visiting historical sites, attending their Independence Day ceremony, bartering at the market, touring the city, trying different foods, and more. These activities really exposed us to their culture and helped us learn a lot about their history. The healthcare clinics were hard work, but the work was very rewarding. At the end of the day when they did a final count of how many people we saw and helped I felt as though we were really able to make an impact on the community and to have the people so thankful and excited to have us there was an amazing feeling. I am so thankful to everyone who made this trip happen, to my peers, instructors, and to the Auburn outreach employees who worked so hard while we were there and still, and to the people in Ghana who allowed us to come and welcomed us in.
Anissah Vekris, Nursing Student
My time in Ghana was amazing! From the majestic shoreline, to the beautiful fabrics and clothing, to the vibrant culture, to the best mangoes, pineapples, and watermelon I've ever tasted, my experience in Ghana is one that I will never forget. Working alongside peers, nursing students, and team of highly trained medical professionals (pharmacists, nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians and administrators) from Auburn University and Ghana afforded me a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn and grow as a future pharmacist. I gained lots of experience in patient counseling, learned more about regional common disease states and treatments, and even learned a little Fanti. The Ghana Healthcare Outreach Trip opened my eyes to the disparities that exist in healthcare and how many things I take for granted. I also learned how large of a barrier language can be; luckily, I had lots of help from volunteers and patients. One of my most memorable experiences was getting to tour Cape Coast Castle, a site through which many African slaves passed through the "Door of No Return" before they were shipped to the Americas. While in Ghana we were able to immerse ourselves in the Ghanaian culture by Independence Day celebrations and tasting local dishes, like banku and goat pepper soup. Although I was sad to leave Ghana, I was happy to return with a new set of friends and mentors.
The Outreach Global trip to Ghana was truly a unique and inspiring experience. I was able to grow my nursing skills through valuable clinical experience and learned how to adapt in clinical situations where resources are limited. The people of Ghana were some of the friendliest I have encountered. Seeing a different way of life and the challenges faced by these communities opened my eyes to the privileges we take for granted. Providing care through the free health clinics in Sekondi- Takoradi was particularly rewarding. Seeing the smiles and appreciation on someone’s face as I handed them their new pair of glasses at no charge is something I won’t forget. While this trip challenged me physically and emotionally in ways I didn’t expect, it was an incredible experience and I would defiantly recommend it to anyone thinking about going.
Shelby Pyron, Nursing Student
If I could use two words to describe my experience in Ghana they would be: amazing and confidence This was my first experience out of the country and I feel so blessed to have gotten the opportunity to go to Ghana and serve the community. The people were so friendly and the scenery was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Palm trees and beaches and bright colorful markets filled the landscape. I got to build up clinical skills and judgments while working in clinics. This experience also introduced me to so many other girls outside of my cohort and allowed me to make new friends. This trip was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience and I really hope I will get the opportunity to do something like this again!
My time in Ghana for the Healthcare Outreach Program was absolutely amazing! I loved getting the chance to meet new people and experience a new culture. Just some of the many amazing experiences I had in Ghana included dancing with kids at a special needs school, touring the Cape Coast Castle, bartering at the market, "breaking in to" the Ghanaian national soccer stadium, and visiting Ghanaian pharmacies to see how they were different from our own. Everyone I met was so incredibly kind, full of joy, and so thankful for the work we were doing. As a future pharmacist, learning about the Ghanaian health care system as well as a pharmacist’s role in that process was very eye-opening. It made me truly appreciate the ease with which I can see a doctor or pick up my prescriptions at home. I was initially nervous about going on this trip as a first year pharmacy student, but I feel that I was still able to make an impact and I came back so much more confident in my abilities than when I left. I got to learn so much about working in conjunction with other healthcare professions as well as with my own professor and classmate. I am so thankful that the pharmacy school was included in the trip this year and that I was able to have this experience. This was a trip I will never forget and will change how I go about my future career! I highly recommend this trip!
I am so thankful and blessed that I was able to travel, love on, and serve the people of Ghana with the skills that the Lord has blessed me with through the Auburn University School of Nursing. The people of Ghana will forever hold a very special place in my heart. They were all so beautiful and never failed to greet you with the biggest smile on their faces. It was life changing to see their joy despite their circumstances. It was an honor to be able to provide accessible health screenings to the people of Sekondi-Takoradi and Accra. Throughout the clinic we saw many patients, most of whom couldn’t remember the last time they went to the doctor, light up with the realization we were there to provide care for free. In only four days of clinic we saw over 1000 patients, and God provided every step of the way! The work was challenging at times, and the environment and culture were drastically different than life in Auburn, Alabama. However, the experiences we had and the friends we made strengthened us all both as nurses and individuals.
One memory from this trip that I will hold in my heart forever is visiting the special needs school in Sekondi-Takoradi. This school provides housing to children with a wide variety of intellectual disabilities. I was overwhelmed with emotion to see how excited the children were to see us as soon as the bus pulled in. They greeted us all as we stepped off our bus with the sweetest smiles and the biggest hugs. We gifted them with stuffed animals and candy. Seeing their excitement over little things we take for granted was the best gift in return. Before leaving the school, we had a giant dance party with the kids and the joy radiating off them was contagious. After a few tiring days, this was exactly what we all needed.
I am so incredibly thankful for the Auburn University School of Nursing and Auburn University Outreach Global staff for making this trip and my dream to serve in Ghana a reality. It was amazing to see the eighteen people serving on this trip arrive as separate individuals and walk out as a family. I will never forget the memories made on this trip. The impact it has had on me is something I will take into every aspect of my life from this moment forward. I truly cannot recommend going on this trip enough. I can promise you it will change your life forever!
Hannah Black, Nursing Student
Ghana 2020 Reflection
The Auburn Outreach Ghana Healthcare Program allows my students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to a real life setting very different from what that are accustomed. This experience provides students to the chance to learn culturally competent care in a way that can’t be replicated in lab. Getting to interact with patients and colleagues across the word shows us that we are all learning and working together to improve health outcomes for our respective communities. We have so much to learn from one another. I know that I’m a better professor because of my time here.
After being accepted to Auburn’s School of Nursing and finding out that there was a medical mission trip to Africa, I knew this was something that I wanted to participate in. Traveling with professors and meeting the amazing families that welcomed us with open arms was heartwarming and made the experience even better than I could have ever imagined. Getting to serve 1,200 plus patients in just 4 clinic days took a lot of hard work from the Auburn staff, Nursing Students, and the Mayor of Sekondi- Takoradi – which whom we worked very closely with. My most fond memory was getting to distribute stuffed animals to a couple different classrooms of students who were treated at the clinic. To see the joy in their eyes when you would give them a big bear or a lollipop really made me appreciate how fortunate we are to live in America. This opportunity is one that will never be forgotten, and I look forward to seeing what the next group of students gets to accomplish while in Ghana.
Paula Bernstein, Nursing Student
"The 2019 Spring trip to Ghana was nothing short of inspiring. It was an amazing opportunity to see and learn about a new place, but also served to bolster friendships with my peers and to bolster my experiences as a nursing student. Ghana offered many experiences for us that included: visiting historical sites, eating different foods at many generous people’s homes, touring through the forest and a castle, and bartering in the marketplace. All of these experiences gave us a sense of the culture that surrounded us and gave insight into how the people of Ghana lived their daily lives. The health clinics we participated in really showed us the true value of community nursing work and while it may not always seem very fun to think about at times, it is truly a gift to be able to impact so many people’s lives in such a short amount of time. Yes, sometimes things may have gotten a little hectic, but with teamwork and instructors who truly wanted us to have a good experience, everything flowed together very well for us and we were able to deliver healthcare to approximately 800 people. All in all, the trip was a success in every facet, from my point of view, and I encourage anybody who wants to have a unique experience and wants to build long lasting relationships and memories to go on the trip to Ghana."
Joshua Gooch, Senior Nursing Student, Auburn University
"Ghana was a very different, very eye-opening experience that I will never forget. Being born in the United States, it is easy to become accustomed to having everything you need at a 5 minute or less drive. It is simple to take for granted so many of the amazing things we have complete access to. For example, state of the art healthcare. Taking this trip to Africa and seeing the different perspectives opened up a whole new view of life for me. Being able to provide basic healthcare to individuals who didn’t have access was very fulfilling and it made my heart truly happy. Every single person we treated had the biggest smile on their face and you could truly feel the appreciation radiating from them. I loved spending time with my fellow peers and professors and getting to know them better. It was very interesting to see how we all reacted to such a different culture than we are accustomed to. All of this said, I won’t lie and say it wasn’t challenging at times adjusting to the food, culture, weather, etc., but I will say that I truly enjoyed my experience. This was my first trip out of the country, and I am thankful and appreciative that it was. If you’re in any way interested in giving back and looking for a truly life changing experience, I highly recommend this experience."
Warren “Stephen” Hill, 4th Semester Nursing Student, Auburn University
"I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to return to Ghana, Africa this year with the nursing outreach program. Last year, I found what set my soul on fire. I discovered that nursing is a profession rooted in kindness and humility – a profession that transcends cultural and language barriers. In 2018, I found my passion; in 2019, I was honored to watch the nursing students around me find theirs. As an Auburn Nursing Alum, I tried to step back and allow the nursing students emerge themselves in the same experiences that we were granted the previous year. At the start of the trip, there were seven undergraduate students and one graduate student – distinctly different, unbeknown to each other, but all a part of the same Auburn family. After clinic days in Sekondi-Takoradi, we became one big nursing family. As I have found out in my first year out of school, the nursing profession has the unique ability of challenging you in ways you never thought possible. There are moments that will tear you down, make you cry, yet strengthen your desire to love on other people. This trip is the culmination of everything it means to be a nurse. I will forever cherish the memories made and the friendships developed due to the outreach trips to Ghana."
Ashley Westberry, Nursing Alumnus and Graduate Student, Auburn University
"Spring Break has always been my least favorite break – I never felt like what I did served a purpose. It always seemed like wasted time. Ghana changed that. In the ten days we were there, I saw beauty I couldn’t imagine in both the scenery and the people, was given the opportunity to help those who couldn’t help themselves, and discovered a new meaning to the profession of nursing. We were able to host a four-day free health clinic where we offered screenings for hearing, sight, urine, glucose, and general vital signs. We also had physicians and pharmacists on-hand to help diagnose and prescribe needed medications that the people of Ghana were allowed to take home free of charge. Witnessing a woman get the prescription for glasses she never knew she needed, sharing the smile of a man who had walked six miles to see us, dancing with a mother when I told her that her child was healthy, and holding a sick infant in my arms while we rushed to get his fever down – these were all experiences I will never forget and would never have had if it weren’t for this trip. The people of Ghana have my heart forever – their smiles were infectious and their joy a bottomless well. The friends I travelled with I can now call family, and the faculty that guided us are now both mentors and friends. I cannot recommend this trip enough! If you’re considering it – do it. It was the best Spring Break of my life, and it can be yours, too."
Cara Borowski, Senior Nursing Student, Auburn University
"To express this trip with only a few words would not do it justice. The 2019 Ghana trip had such an incredible impact on our hearts and minds. The residents of Ghana were so immediately welcoming, and they humbly offered 100% of their love to us. We laughed, cried, and danced (even when we didn’t know how). We were strangers in a new place, but felt so included in the close community. It was an honor to be able to provide accessible health screenings to the people of Ghana. Our instructors did a wonderful job coordinating the trip. We had leisure days to experience the food, shopping, tropical beaches, dense forests, and powerful historical sites. We then had work days where we conducted free health clinics alongside our peers from University of Cape Coast Nursing School. We served as many people as we could in a limited amount of time, but there is still so much work to be done. The work was challenging, and the environment and culture was drastically different from home, but the experience strengthened us as both nurses and individuals. Ghana changed my perspective of life and showed me the sincere meaning of love, family, friends, and happiness. I returned home feeling restless, desiring to do more international service in my nursing career. I am so thankful for Auburn University School of Nursing and Auburn University Outreach Global for making this trip a reality. I encourage every person in any career field to embark on a trip like this one: It is a guaranteed life-changer!"
Catherine Wilkinson, Senior Nursing Student, Auburn University
"My experience in Ghana was much different than anything I have ever been a part of before. You never really realize how much you are blessed with until you visit a place that is deprived of the simplest things. Being able to provide the people of Africa a medical clinic that was free of charge was such a rewarding experience. The smiles on the people’s faces once we could treat them was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Outside of the four days where we provided the clinic, we could do other things in the different villages. We had the privilege of traveling to so many places and to the most beautiful hotels. We even got to go on a hike in the jungle where we walked between the tree tops on rope bridges. Going to Ghana was the experience of a lifetime, and leaving there knowing we changed so many lives was the best part. There was no other way I would’ve wanted to spend my last spring break as an Auburn student."
Kendall Weber, Senior Nursing Student, Auburn University
"This year’s healthcare program in Ghana gave me the opportunity to explore the gray area of my life called 'The Comfort Zone.' It brought me out of my nest and helped me conquer my fear of heights. I walked the 350m long and 40m high Kakum Canopy in Ghana! It was an exciting experience. Also, going to Ghana as a graduate assistant for the office of Outreach Global added another level of value to my college experience. As I reflect on this trip, I realize that teamwork was vital to the success of the program. Each team member exhibited reliability, responsibility and positivity which made us work as a cohesive group. My time in Ghana was truly beneficial to my development as a graduate assistant and as a student who is interested in a career in academia. It modeled an example of how to implement a successful program with a diverse group. It also helped me learn what to do to encourage team spirit and boost morale. These characteristics are lessons I intend to take with me as I progress in my career and in life. It is my hope that I can apply some of the lessons from that experience to future endeavors wherever I find myself."
Mac-Jane Crayton, Graduate Assistant, Office of Outreach Global and
Ph.D Student, Public Administration & Public Policy, Auburn University
"The Outreach Global trip to Ghana was truly unlike anything I have experienced. The Ghanaian people are some of the most kind and generous people I have ever encountered. This experience has completely broadened my perspective of global healthcare as a whole. One of the most troubling things for me was the shear magnitude of health inequity. Seeing people suffer from illnesses that could be easily treated solely because they didn’t have the resources or access to health care was heart breaking. However, getting to play a small part in the beginning of someone’s health journey was truly an honor. This experience will be one that I cherish for the rest of my life."
Hannah Bush, Senior Nursing Student, Auburn University
"Whether we were climbing 100 feet in the air on canopy bridges through Kakum National Park, watching a beautiful sunset over the Gulf of Guinea, negotiating the price of a painting in the depths of a market, touring the 500 year old Elmina Castle, dancing in a church while the choir rehearsed or seeing over 200 patients in one afternoon, this trip was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I have always had a heart for serving and I have always felt called to somehow help people who didn’t have easy access to healthcare and this trip confirmed that for me. As a fourth semester nursing student at Auburn, I wasn’t sure how much I actually knew or how much I would really be able to help. After 5 days of working in the excruciating heat and seeing over 800 patients, I became confident in applying what I had been learning for the past year to the health problems of the patients we saw. I was overjoyed that we got to serve so many in Sekondi, but I think the best part of the trip was getting to be with the people. I have never met such joyous, kindhearted, hardworking people who always had a smile on their face. Whether it was the mayor, a minister, or a professor everyone was so gracious to always have their doors wide open to feed us and give us a place to rest. We got to play with the school kids in the afternoons and I somehow managed to find a baby in my arms every chance I got. It was so humbling to see most of them live their lives with so few belongings but to delight and find so much joy in their beliefs and values. Our team from Auburn was incredible and I learned so much from getting to work alongside my professors, classmates, and the Outreach Global staff. This was an experience of a lifetime that I will always hold near to my heart!"
Katie Valentine, 4th Semester Nursing Student, Auburn University
"To define our trip to Ghana in few words, it was eye opening. What an amazing experience to go to another country where people live simpler lives with less value on material items. From the moment we got there, the locals were going above and beyond to show their kindness to us; not something we see in our everyday lives. We got to go to two different hospitals and help out at two community clinics. There were hundreds of people who could not afford adequate health care that were lined up for the clinic to check on their health status. It is always a joyous thing to realize that you are caring for someone medically and educating them in a way that will help them lead better and healthier lives after. This really showed me what I take for granted a lot.
One man with appendicitis could not afford surgery to get his appendix removed and was just going to be sent home, and probably would not have survived very long. We had the chance to all pitch in money and pay for his surgery (a little less than $200 total). Although we could not help very much at the hospital, I could not believe that we made that difference in his life. Throughout this whole trip, I got to realize see how amazing it is to be able to help people in ways that they could not have imagined they would receive help."
Alexis Damian, 2nd Semester Nursing Student
"If you are looking to step outside of your comfort zone, to serve an underprivileged population internationally, Ghana is definitely the place to go. For me, it was such an incredible experience to volunteer where it is really needed. Being able to work alongside the Ghanaian people, in the local hospitals and villages, was life changing. The people of Ghana were amazing and it was very exciting to see how much they appreciated the service we were providing. Ghana is a beautiful country and I am truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to experience the culture there. I would like to thank Auburn University School of Nursing and Auburn University Outreach Global for collaborating to make the trip possible. This trip has certainly given me a new perspective and I look forward to using this experience throughout my nursing career."
Bobby Tapley, 4th Semester Nursing Student
"My time in Ghana was a once in a lifetime experience that allowed to meet and work with wonderful people, while also experiencing and learning about a beautiful culture that is full of smiles and color! As a future nurse, the time spent providing care to another culture in an international setting and learning about the healthcare system in Ghana was invaluable to me. I came back from this trip full of gratitude and insight, more confident in my abilities as a nurse and excited about the opportunities nursing can offer in a global setting. I will never forget the people I met and the experiences I made on this trip and would absolutely encourage anyone considering this trip to take the leap; you will not regret it!"
Brooke Skinner, Nursing Alumni, 2018
"Where do I even start...this trip was incredible!! Not only did I learn so much about Ghana, but I also learned a lot about myself and made some new friends along the way! The food was great, the people were friendly, and the beaches were beautiful! Participating in these clinics meant more to me than any other nursing school experience because some of the people seeking care had never been to a health care provider before. Even though we helped assess and treat people at the clinics and financially supported a surgery, it made me sad leaving knowing that we only reached a small percentage of the population that needs care. There is so much left to do, but with that being said, there is an abundance of opportunities for the next group to serve these vulnerable populations. Ultimately, this was the spring break of a lifetime and this trip is for anyone who wants an eye-opening, amazing experience."
Emily Elton, Nursing Alumni, 2018
"During my experience in Ghana, I learned that people matter more than time and more than tasks. I learned that 7 am really means 8:45. I learned that when you feel useless and overwhelmed in a clinical situation, offering a smile, a touch, or an affirming word can make all the difference. I learned that every political or business meeting should include dinner and dancing. I tasted the freshest, most delicious pineapple and mango I’ve ever had in my life. I got to swim in the Atlantic Ocean under the setting sun with my new best friends. I felt rays of hope in the saddest of clinical situations. I got to meet and talk with some of the wisest and most open-minded people I’ve ever met. This trip took my nursing experience to a new level and broadened my perspective of the world in which I will provide nursing care. I highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and going to Ghana!"
Hannah Hayes, Nursing Alumni, 2018
"Ghana was an amazing experience. I was initially nervous because this was my first time on a plane and out of the country. Having the opportunity to visit Ghana was a true culture shock for me. Everyone was so nice and seemed to be truly happy. This trip was a true eye opener as well. I am very appreciative of having the opportunity to visit Cape Coast Castle. I’ve learned and read so much about the slave trade and how Africans were treated, but being in the exact location brought so many emotions. It was truly heart breaking to actually visualize what Africans had to go through. The healthcare program was phenomenal. It was an honor to be able to work at the health clinic and in the emergency departments. It was truly a rewarding experience. Overall this was a fantastic experience I hope I can go back next year."
Lakeisha Logan, Nursing Alumni, 2018
"I focused on my ER experience but seriously I don’t think I can put into words how awesome this trip was!!! The 2018 outreach trip to Ghana opened my perspective to a new culture, different healthcare and ultimately the real meaning of joy and appreciation. Getting to experience and contribute to healthcare in Ghana is an experience that I will have forever. I was able to assist in a head to toe trauma assessment of a patient who was hit by a truck. She was unable to pay for a scan so the doctor had to rely on our assessment to provide treatment. I was truly inspired by the doctor’s and nurse’s ability to make the most of their resources to help their patients. I was also hugely motivated by the gratitude of each patient we met and their appreciation of our help. I truly thought I was going to Ghana to impact others but truly I think Ghana made a bigger impact on me."
Morgan Blake, 2nd Semester Nursing Student
"As a faculty who assisted in leading Auburn University School of Nursing students, in conjunction with Auburn University Outreach Global, my expectations were far exceeded with the entirety of this program. Our students gained invaluable and lifelong experiences in the cultural, social, and educational aspects of outreach. They were able to provide medical screening and care to the people of Ghana and participated in events they would otherwise never have the occasion to experience in the United States. There are no words to adequately describe my experience as a faculty while in Ghana. A beautiful country welcomed by beautiful people, accompanied by opportunities to help those in need – truly an amazing experience I will encourage other faculty and future students to be a part of. You are truly amazing, Dr. Quansah, and I value this experience and having the opportunity to work with you."
Mrs. Tanya Johnson, Assistant Clinical Professor, AU School of Nursing
2020 Ghana Reflection
Every year this outreach seems to amaze me. It is so overwhelming, yet so gratifying. I know we were born to bring light to others and to always leave others better than we found them. In this instance, I believe I was truly the one who was left “better.” Every road we traveled, every person we touched, every child we laughed with, and every life we changed was a perfect example of who we were created to be. We can take life and the things we think we own for granted, yet in an instance we could be the ones in need. I know that providing free healthcare to so many in need was a privilege for me. I did not take it lightly. Every student, doctor, pharmacist, social worker, and nurse that it took to run the clinics in the sweltering heat was a gift to me and my ability to remain sane and joyful while caring for so many people. I am thankful for the opportunity to love on others and it was an honor to which I would do all over again.
2019 Ghana Reflection
"Our time in Ghana for Outreach Global was very rewarding and enlightening. The culture was amazing and the Ghanaians were so receptive and appreciative of the healthcare they received. It is my desire to continue the relationship for years to come. Our nursing students were outstanding and worked so diligently to meet the needs of the patients while working in conjunction with the healthcare team in Ghana. After experiencing this global outreach, I am amazed at the things we take for granted here in our own little narrow world."
Dr. Valarie Thomas, Assistant Clinical Professor, AU School of Nursing
"Although I have visited Ghana several times, this trip stands out because it was the first time I have traveled with nursing and pharmacy students and faculty. Participating in the Ghana Healthcare Program was an amazing professional experience as it highlighted the need for social work to be integrated and institutionalized in Ghana’s healthcare system. I enjoyed seeing how prepared and excited nursing and pharmacy students were to provide comprehensive screenings of ears, eyes, blood pressure, glucose testing and general health examinations to community residents. As I engaged with local constituents (i.e. health clinic patients), I could not stop thinking about the social, economic, and environmental factors that impacted each person’s state of health and whether or not those seen had the necessary financial resources to purchase the prescriptions they were prescribed and/or transportation to get to the hospital to follow up on physician recommendations. I found some peace in knowing that the Ghana Healthcare Program provides quality healthcare screenings to many people who would not have access to quality community health without this program. There is no doubt that AU’s Global Outreach Healthcare program is making a significant impact in the Ghanaian communities it serves. To help people achieve and maintain a state of optimal health, social workers are needed to help individuals access services, provide education, and offer support for those coping with acute, chronic, and terminal illness. I look forward to future trips with the Ghana Healthcare program and leveraging my relationship with social work faculty and practitioners in Ghana to help integrate and institutionalize social work in the Ghanaian health care system."
Dr. Felicia Tuggle, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Auburn University
"I had an amazing time in Ghana. We did so much in those few days. I could easily say my experience at Cape Coast Castle was the most powerful and eating breakfast/ dinner on the beach was the most relaxing. My favorite part of the trip was visiting the kids at school and being able to interact/ observe them in the classroom."
Daniel Walker, AU alumnus and former membership Graduate Assistant at Auburn Recreation & Wellness
"I set out to Ghana with an open mind and an eagerness to experience another culture, but nothing could have prepared me for the experiences and insight I’ve gained from going to Ghana. From exploring a rainforest, seeing historical sights, visiting beautiful beaches, and exploring the fascinating capital city Accra, plus all of the wonderful people I met along the way, it was everything you could ask for of a Spring Break and more."
Mike O’Key, Undergraduate, Double major in Environmental Design and Public Administration Chair; Inclusion & Diversity Committee | SGA Senate
"Working in Ghana with the University of Cape Coast (UCC) was quite the experience, especially while connecting with the UCC College of Distance Education (CoDE). During several meetings set-up by Dr. Elizabeth Essamuah-Quansah, the Coordinator for Outreach Global, I was able to embark with others on the search for how to help future students in the online learning environment. After several discussions with the UCC CoDE on online teaching and learning, it was clear that both universities can learn from one another. As a society, Ghana is a sight to behold. From the city to Kakum National Park to Cape Coast Castle, there is something for everyone. Cape Coast Castle helped me understand what life was like for some people during its operation [as part of the trans-Atlantic slave trade]."
Nicole Ferney, Ph.D. EFLT student
"My trip to Ghana was one that I am still learning to describe with words. I was exposed to such a different culture and witnessed something breath-taking at least once daily, for the duration of the trip. Through the knowledge that I gained, I am able to inform my family and friends about the things I witnessed. My encounters completely shifted how I think about most things I deal with here in America. It is an experience that I will certainly never forget."
Khalil Johnson, Undergraduate - Electrical Engineering student
Last Updated: November 13, 2023