This is the phrase my professor kept telling me from day 1. It translates into, “You are not a tourist, you are a student.” Last week, I was kind of a tourist? Even though I wasn’t “exactly” a tourist, I sure felt like one. I went to a few places: Valparisio and Downtown Santiago and took a lot of pictures. That was my relaxing week. It just hit me this week that I am not here to visit sites- I’m here to learn! Not a bad thing, but at times, this fact can get pretty stressful. I have to study and turn in assignments. I had my first exam this week, during the first week of classes! So basically, most nights my bed looks like this:
It’s okay though. I am still enjoying my time in Santiago :]
So while I am here, I am taking two classes: a Spanish class focused on medical terminology, and a Spanish seminar class that introduces the Chilean healthcare system. The seminar class has an outreach portion where I will work with a nonprofit organization that promotes health education for low-income families. So far, we have learned about pedagogy — traditional vs. popular education, nutrition and factors that contribute to poor nutrition, social factors that influence health, and current public health movements in Chile. One particular activity just put things into perspective for me about the inequality of access and quality of health. The game goes something like this:
1. Each player would receive descriptions of two people from two different socioeconomic classes
Ex – A male heir to a large company
Ex – An older, disabled woman who is unemployed
2. Each player would also receive two game pieces for each person and would start at the bottom of the grid.
**X is the game piece at the starting line
3. A person that is not playing would read off statements that would or would not apply to the description of the two people.
Ex. statement: This person does not suffer discrimination
4. If the statement matches the person, their game piece moves up the table. If not, they stay where they are.
5. In the end, my two game pieces looked like this:
The one on the left represented the male heir to a large company while the one on the right represented the disabled woman who is unemployed. I think subconsciously, before playing this game, I had the concept that yes, inequalities exist in healthcare whether it be in the access to or quality of care, but I felt that it was something that was ingrained in the education I received — people with lower income will not receive the same care as those who have high income. This is true in the U.S. and in Chile. However, while looking at the board after playing the game, it gave me a real visual of how unequal the treatment and care are for patients of different backgrounds. The male heir to a large company receives so many more benefits and equal treatment in life and in health than the older disabled woman. While the inequality in healthcare in the U.S. is not as dramatic as in Chile, these issues are still prevalent and should be corrected (as of now, I don’t know how, but hopefully with more exposure to the medical field, I will have an idea :] ). For now, I just needed that conscious awareness of this inequality and hopefully, I can be a healthcare professional that can slowly change this aspect when working with patients.
Some pictures of the city I took while procrastinating:
Thanks for reading! Will be back next week.