Loo Yee Wong
Major: Dietetics/Nutritional Science
Hometown, State: Malaysia
Type of experience: Internship
Experience: Iowa State University Dietetics Program International Rotation
Experience website: https://www.dietetics.iastate.edu/internship-details/internship-details-international-location/
Going to an underdeveloped country and helping out the community to better the lives of the people has always been one of my dream, and I am glad that I have accomplished this in Ghana. I never thought that this experience would change how I see the world, but it did. With my passion in global nutrition and public health, I see the need to better the health of people and work towards creating a better lifestyle by communicating accurate nutrition and health related information. This program has allowed me to execute that by demonstrating my capability to help and improve Ghana’s existing health care system. I was able to practice the Nutrition Care Process in a different setting area. It was a unique experience because we are so used to practicing them in the United States, and in settings like the hospitals or schools. This stands out to me because we practice it in an unfamiliar environment and assessing the nutritional needs of the community in Ghana is a whole lot different thank practicing it in the United States. The community here eat different types of food and they have different nutritional needs due to various social and demographic factors. I am able to see the difference in nutritional needs as I am able to practice both in the United States and Ghana, which was really an eye opener.
I first learned about it when my seniors when to Ghana and they told me about their entire experience in Ghana! I was really interested in this unique experience that not everyone would be able to experience. I had always look forward to applying for this internship because I knew it would give me a different learning experience.
An impact to my life...
My entire experience has changed how I see the world differently. Each day here, I see how the people live, how they communicate, how they earn money, how they survive each day in their conditions that most of us will never experience because of how lucky we are. Personally, I have gained so much from this experience because I am able to see the world differently. I always knew that there are people in this world that have it much worse than we go through on a daily basis. Knowing that Ghana is an underdeveloped country, I prepared myself to experience something that I have never gone through before. But when I went to Ghana, I felt how poor they truly are, yet they don’t complain because it is their lives here. However, coming from a first world country, we complain about the small little things in lives that truly does not matter. Seeing this taught me how to appreciate about the little things in life and never take them for granted. Professionally, I have been able to gain a once a lifetime experience. I learn how to work with people of different races, along with language barriers. It has increased my communication skills and self-confidence. This teaches me how to handle situations differently, and I can treat every opportunity to learn.
I will never forget...
Interacting with the kids here was one of the best experiences I have thus far. I felt how truly happy they are, and how they just live within each moment. Their smiles never fail to make my heart melt, and I just truly enjoyed interacting with them because it made me treasure our precious lives more.
Advice for others...
This entire experience that I have gained through this program has definitely help me grow as an individual and it will benefit me when I become a registered dietitian. I am truly grateful that I have been able to be in Ghana for one month where I have grown as an individual and see the world differently. I also made lifelong friends from the United States and from Ghana. We have all the same passion and we worked as a team to accomplish what was needed to be done. I have acknowledged the importance of teamwork and this has benefitted me not only personally, but also academically and professionally. So, if you're thinking about it, just do it as there will be no regrets!