Volume 16 • Issue 3
Southwestern @ Georgetown

Our Global Responsibility

Narda Hernandez ’06

As a student enamored with experiential learning, I am overjoyed that I had the opportunity to study abroad this past semester. Through a SIT (School for International Training) Public Health Program, I traveled the Eastern Cape of South Africa—the poorest and most corrupt province of the region. I immersed myself in all aspects of the diverse cultures of South Africa. As part of an independent study project, my family was extended to include the wonderful members of an HIV/AIDS support group in rural Qoboqobo, South Africa. I interacted with them daily for a month to investigate the mental health benefits and major concerns associated with a rural HIV/AIDS support group. During this period, I practiced my Xhosa language skills to communicate with the community and health care workers.

I have always advocated activism within the community and believe communities can unite to affect change. In my time overseas, I discovered firsthand that a community that supports and accepts all its members has the power to save the lives of people living and affected by HIV/AIDS.

While living abroad, I became even more aware of our global responsibility as human beings to be more compassionate, understanding and collaborative individuals. I am forever grateful to the individuals I met for sharing their stories of struggle and continuing strength. I encourage and congratulate fellow students and members of the SU community who engage in unique community-based experiences, both locally and abroad.