Weiss, a junior nursing student from Parker, Colorado, left Laramie and is living her dreams in Ghana for two months this summer. Because Weiss has completed the first year of nursing school at the university, she is considered a full nurse in Ghana. She is working an 8-5, Monday-Friday shift in a Ghana hospital. Her duties include working on wellness projects with children under the age of 5, spending time in an HIV-AIDS unit, assisting with c-sections, and even performing minor suturing.
Weiss started a blog this month to make it possible for those who are interested to follow her activities and benefit from the lessons she is learning through her immersion in the Ghana culture. Click here to link to Weiss' blog: http://chasing-opportunity-ghana.mozello.com/
Below is the article published on Brooke Weiss in the spring of 2014, prior to her trip to Ghana.
Don't wait for opportunity to knock. Make it happen!
Most people who are successful are not simply lucky, happening into a dream life. Instead, they are probably like Brooke Weiss. She ferrets out opportunities and forges ahead to make an exciting life not only a possibility, but a happening. Weiss, a junior nursing student from Parker, Colorado, will be leaving Laramie and living her dreams in Ghana this summer for two months, basically at no cost to her pocketbook, and for a huge boost in her chosen profession of nursing. What will she be doing in Ghana, and what is she doing to bring it off?
What’s in Ghana for Weiss?
Because Weiss has completed the first year of nursing school at the university, she will be considered a full nurse in Ghana. She will be working an 8-5, Monday-Friday shift in a Ghana hospital. Her duties will include working on wellness projects with children under the age of 5, spending time in an HIV-AIDS unit, assisting with c-sections, and even performing minor suturing, which is something our students do not customarily learn until the graduate level.
Weiss will wear a special dress that is being made for her by the Ghana people. The dress is the “uniform” for the Ghana hospital. It will be hers to keep upon her return to the States, a tangible memory that will always bring back to her mind two months of unforgettable training and experience.
The group through which Weiss is taking this trip, Pro-World, has an office positioned in Ghana. Pro-World has placed her with an English-speaking family that will teach her “Fante”—their native language—through weekly lessons. Pro-World will also provide a variety of activities for Weiss and the other internship students during their stay in Ghana. Says Weiss, with a failed attempt at restraining her excitement, “I know for sure I will get to go on a safari!”
How did Weiss make it happen?
How did Weiss manage to land this remarkable opportunity? Here is her story from the beginning:
“I decided on a nursing career as a sophomore in high school after my grandmother suffered with and died from multiple myeloma,” says Weiss. “Grandma would talk of the nurses and how wonderful they were. I wanted to be one of them.” So Weiss set her college sights on obtaining a nursing degree and chose the University of Wyoming Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing as her vehicle for setting her plan in motion.
In tandem with her new love for pursuing nursing was an old and continuing love for travel. That love came through living with her well-traveled family, but was also nurtured by the same grandmother who inspired her towards nursing. “Grandma always dreamed of living on a sailboat. So Grandfather bought one, and he and Grandma sailed the world for 10 years prior to her death.” On one of their trips, they boarded a stowaway—granddaughter Brooke—all the way to Australia and back.
So, with exploring in her blood, Weiss set off hoping to find a nursing program that included international studies as part of the curriculum. UW nursing offers optional student travel to work with the people of Agua Salada, Honduras for a two-week stint in the fall of the senior year. But Weiss desired more time abroad, so she set her sights on a summer internship, taking advantage of all that the University of Wyoming offers through the International Studies program, e.g., information, advising and funding, for starters.
The coordinator of the International Exchange Program, Ruth Shepherd, was the first person Brooke met on her visit to the Cheney International Center. Shepherd handed Weiss some brochures describing overseas opportunities for students preparing for a health-related field. Weiss met the GPA criteria, so she applied, Skype-interviewed for and was accepted by the Ghana internship through Pro-World. Now all she had to do was to figure out the funding.
Not intimidated by the $5,000 price tag, Weiss applied for funding from the Cheney International Center and subsequently received scholarships and grants from the International Program Office totaling $3,500. She raised the remaining $1,500 herself. Weiss’ eyes widen in amazement as she says, “This trip is basically free!”
What is required of Weiss in appreciation for the International Program office’s assistance? Shepherd says Weiss is simply to return and give a PowerPoint slide presentation about her trip, something that she would have a hard time NOT doing. Who could hold back all that excitement and not tell someone?
Keeping in touch
Weiss will begin a blog prior to her departure to Ghana this May. The school will provide a link to the blog from this archived article (look under “student profiles” in the left side bar).
When Weiss returns, not only will she give her required presentation for the International Studies office, but she will deliver it as a changed person. Ruth Shepherd reiterates what dignified world leaders have said, that going abroad will change how you view the world, and that you will be a far better person for it. Shepherd herself says, “[Through travel to foreign countries] you can see how the United States is involved in expenditures overseas and how the country provides aid.... Education can very often be above and out of reach of the political arguments and quagmires nations go through. But education should change that eventually. It’s what makes a difference in the world.”