Cote ’13 Gains Hands-On Experience Abroad with Arcadia, Hearts In Motion

March 2, 2012 reported on Erin Cote’13 and her recent experience during a service trip to Guatemala with Arcadia University, Feb. 29.

Because of the lack of health care workers in that country, it was necessary for doctors and nurses to ask Ms. Cote, who was volunteering her time during her holiday break from college, to do some important work. She did blood pressure screenings, took vitals and did other exams to help evaluate the patients.

"You just kind of did whatever you were asked," Ms. Cote said. "Everyday was different."

Ms. Cote was in Guatemala from Jan. 7 to Jan. 15 through her school and Hearts in Motion, a non-profit organization that works in Central America, providing donations of clothes and food and setting up medical clinics for the people there.

Ms. Cote also talked to children in the clinic and handed out medications.

"This was kind of a unique opportunity," Ms. Cote said. "I could practice doing vitals and things like that. I've also studied Spanish since middle school, so I got to apply that."

Ms. Cote said she has always done service work, but never on an international level, until she did in Guatemala. She said she saw poverty firsthand in the Central American country.

Ms. Cote said she saw people with medical conditions that would have been addressed much earlier in the United States than they are in Guatemala.

"We were seeing real extreme things, people who were malnourished, who didn't have money for food, things you see on TV," Ms. Cote said. "That's what really hit me hard."

But Ms. Cote said the Guatemalans were thankful for the help they were receiving from the volunteers.

"It meant the world to them," Ms Cote said. "They were very appreciative."

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