I don’t think that words can fully describe this course overall for me. It was by far the most incredible experience of my life. I learned so much about diabetes, how to prevent and manage it, what causes it, and the socioeconomic and cultural factors that influence the disease and its progression. So much of my learning was done through experience. I learned about the diabetic foot from a podiatrist in Nassau and went right to doing diabetic foot assessments at the nursing homes. By doing glucose testing in the field, I got the chance to find the person’s level and explain to them what it meant.
Every day felt like a new adventure for me in the Bahamas! I got to do so many things I have never tried before. The kayaking and camping trip was all new territory for me and I learned how to roll out of a kayak, cook over open flames, and even got a lesson on navigating by stars. On our way back to Island School we all rafted up and Jay asked for a volunteer to crawl across the kayaks. I took the chance! I got to crawl across all the kayaks, jump in the water, crawled back across them, and got back into my kayak. It felt so awesome to try something I had never done before and be successful!
I loved that fact that we were always around people who would share some bit of knowledge or wisdom with us. I could learn about marine biology or ecology from just about anyone and I learned a ton about sustainability from Island School and CEI. The Island School was a great home base for us, and it was awesome to meet so many people there from all over the world!
More than just learning academically, I gained a new perspective on life in general. Whenever I would ask people how their day was going I would get a reply along the lines of “Oh I’m blessed! Thank God for life!” Sometimes I would hear this from people who had next to nothing. The people there just showed me to be thankful for life and everything that it brings me.
Hmmm, what would I say to a student thinking about taking this course? Let me think…DO IT! This course is a once in a lifetime opportunity that brings you back rich with knowledge and experience that nothing else can compare to. I learned so much about type 2, the Bahamas, and myself. Janet and Jay did a wonderful job fostering an environment that was conducive to both learning and growth for all of us. They encouraged me to try new things and keep an open mind, which were key things for this trip. I am so so very thankful to have been a part of this amazing experience, and I would recommend this course to anyone.
As a whole, this class and the whole experience brought me back to the US with a new perspective on life. I had so many opportunities to grow and learn more about myself. I think one of the biggest things I learned was to cherish every moment I have. At Island School I met a man from Nigeria who reminded me that passion is what drives life and what we do. He told me to do what I’m passionate about because without passion driving me, I’m not going to be satisfied. I also learned that it’s perfectly okay not to have a set in stone plan for your life because sometimes you’re meant to do something different and be brave enough to take a right turn or two.