Students share summer 2016 study abroad experiences


Valerie Woods

Valerie Woods was able to snap this picture of the Colonel while at Giants Causeway in Belfast.

Gabby Glinski, Co-Managing Editor

While many Wilkes students spent their summer days at home with their families or working summer jobs, several students decided to get away and travel abroad.

Valerie Woods, a junior marketing and management major, and Shana Noon, a junior nursing major, traveled to Dublin, Ireland, and Tanzania, respectively, to continue their education and experience different cultures and career paths.

Woods left for Dublin, Ireland in May and stayed for several months. There, she took on two internships; one at MediaTeam, an event planning company, and another at Westland Studios, a recording studio.

“So far I’m enjoying working and getting an idea of what I want to do after Wilkes,” Woods said earlier this summer. “Being abroad allows you to get out of your own comfort zone and learn about new cultures and environments.”

When she was not working, she was able to travel the rest of Ireland and parts of Europe. Woods also volunteered at a Dublin festival.

While in Tanzania, Noon experienced the culture and health care, ranging from learning about how food is produced and grown, to working alongside midwives.

Noon visited farms, or shambas, and learned about tropical plants, breeding livestock and how farming practices contribute to the population’s health. She also had the opportunity to visit an orphanage for children under 2. The children at the orphanage receive food, but do not always receive the stimulation they need. Noon enjoyed holding and playing with the babies.

For most of her trip, Noon worked in the maternity ward with nurse midwives. She shared that nurses in Tanzania face challenges that American nurses don’t even need to consider, like the patient-to-nurse ratio. Noon said that at one point, there were 50 patients and only one nurse. There were so many patients that often women had to share a bed with two other patients. Some even ended up on mattresses on the floor.

Patients often had to provide their own medications, gloves, food and kanga. Kanga refers to a cloth that can be used as a garment, wrap for a baby or to be used as a strap to carry a baby on one’s back.

“It was very difficult when I saw patients that were malnourished or could not afford to pay for their supplies,” Noon said. “I saw nurses shout at husbands to buy medications for their wives, purchase their own gloves, and receive their pay late because the hospital is waiting on funding from the government.”

Noon worked in the premature baby unit, experienced a cesarean delivery and participated in a home visit for one of her patients.

“Not only was I able to deepen my studies and practice my skills in my area of interest, but I was able gain a more global view of healthcare and culture,” Noon said. “I don’t think I will ever be able to look at a pair of gloves the same way again.”

Besides learning about health care, Noon also experienced other aspects of Tanzanian culture.

She watched traditional African dancers, sang in a church choir in Kiswahili, visited an all girls private school and haggled in a market. Haggling is culturally appropriate in Tanzania. She then went to a tailor with the cloth she haggled for to have traditional clothing and bags made. She shared that she would get invited to people’s homes and eat meals cooked from scratch. Common Tanzanian snacks include chia, boiled peanuts and popcorn.

Both Woods and Noon encourage interested students to seek study abroad opportunities.

Students who are interested in studying abroad may visit the study abroad page on the Wilkes website under the Center for Global Education and Diversity or contact Dr. Jeffrey Stratford, Director of Study Abroad at