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This past January, I finally had the chance to fulfill my wanderlust by studying abroad through one of the wonderful Intersession programs that the Office of Study Abroad runs!

From January 4th to January 26th, I (along with 2 instructors and 12 other undergraduate students) took an 18 hour flight into Uganda. During the program, JHU worked closely with one of the best public universities, Makerere University. With seven local students from the School of Public Health, we embarked together on an unforgettable journey!

The program consisted of activities like: site visits to community organizations like Training of Rural Woman in Uganda (TORUWU), a homestay experience in the Rakai District, and lectures at the Rakai Health Sciences Program.  Through our schedule, we traveled to many parts of Uganda, seeing how different communities addressed public health issues in their own ways. As a junior interested in blending medicine and public health, this experience opened my eyes to the importance of health equity, health disparities, and international health.

In addition, we learned about the local culture through an immersive experience, especially at the homestay where we stayed with families in the Rakai village for a week. The seven Ugandan students were one of the best parts of the program, helping us navigate and understand the culture. Without them, the program wouldn’t have been the same.

JHU students (me and Sophia) and a Makerere University student (Faith) wearing traditional Ugandan garments called gomesi

Through this study abroad experience, I was able to both learn about global public health while creating strong relationships with students and faculty. I befriended people I never expected to meet, traveled across the world to a country I never believed I would visit, and gained lifelong lessons that I now hold close to my heart.

A group photo of the women who partook in the 2019 program

A selfie to mark the end of our final presentations!

Studying abroad to Uganda during Intersession was one of the best academic and personal decisions I made. The entire process was smooth and easy because staff, faculty, and advisors all work together to help you find the place and program that is best for you. If you cannot do a semester- or year-long program, Intersession (or Summer) is an amazing chance for you to explore the world in an academically enriching way!

Safari at Lake Mburo National Park

I hope that this post sparks the adventurer spirit inside of you all, stirring emotions of wanderlust. Go and explore the world, learn about yourself through the experience, and allow Hopkins to show you the many journeys that it offers!