For my international community health experience I traveled to Bodhgaya, located in Bihar, India. I chose this destination because I was looking for an experience that would be life changing, and I wanted to learn and see a culture much different than my own. Completing my clinical rotation in Bodhgaya turned out to be everything I had hoped for. Working with the Niranjana Public Welfare Trust which includes schools, clinics, and an orphanage, I gained perspective about health on a community level and learned about healthcare and education in a developing nation. Being the first group to travel to this international site our goal was to assess the community of Bodhgaya so that UVa can hopefully build a sustainable relationship with Niranjana. Our hopes are that nursing students have the opportunity to return to the area and begin projects in health promotion that can benefit the people of Bodhgaya.
During our trip we spent time at Niranjana in the schools, clinic, and orphanage. We taught lessons in the school about hand hygiene, teaching the children about what germs are and how they are passed from person to person. We also spent time teaching them about health topics such as smoking and drinking, and the harmful effects that these behaviors can have on the body. During our time in the clinic we interviewed and talked with the doctors and health educators, as well as sat in on patient visits. We learned about the homeopathic medicine that they predominantly use and learned about the medical conditions that they often see. We were also lucky enough to travel to remote villages with the doctors and their mobile clinic. In addition to the time we spent learning and teaching at Niranjana, we also spent time with another organization called People First. People First is another NGO who also does work in Bodhgaya and its surrounding villages. Both organizations were welcoming and provided us with a rich community health experience. We are hoping that UVa will be able to collaborate with both organizations in the future.