Wow…I miss Peru. Today, it has been exactly one week since I have left Peru and I am already wanting to start planning my next trip back. Since coming home, it has been a whirl wind — I landed in Texas Thursday, traveled to Colorado, unpacked and directly repacked for this upcoming school year, flew to California, and now, I am in the process of moving back on campus. However even with all the chaos, in my spare moments and seconds to myself, I have been reflecting and soaking in all my memories and experiences from Peru.
I cannot even express in words how thankful I am for VivePeru and the Jean Donovan Fellowship for allowing me to have this experience of a lifetime. I was able to push myself out of my conventional and comfortable ways of thinking and it excites me that I am starting to grow into the person I have always wanted to become. Initially, I thought my trip to Peru would help me understand more about the professional, medical world and the healthcare systems in third world countries. Not only did this trip accomplish these goals, but also gave me lifelong friendships, an appreciation for language and culture, a tick to travel, and a desire to pursue medicine and healthcare in underprivileged communities.
One of the biggest lessons I learned during this trip was about the meaning of privilege. Before when I had gone on mission trips with my church and school, I had always felt guilty of my privileges and my opportunities. However on this trip, I learned that I should never feel guilty about my privileges or my opportunities, but rather use them to help others gain access to more privileges and opportunities. This idea really hit me hard. It made me realize how important and valuable my education and actions can be. I want this lesson to follow me throughout the rest of my time at Santa Clara, along with (hopefully) medical school as I aspire to utilize my education to provide medical care for underprivileged patients around the world. Throughout these next years, I hope to soak in and have more experiences like Peru as I grow little by little into the woman I want to be.
I am so excited to be an advocate for Vive Peru and the Jean Donovan Fellowship this year! I encourage everyone to look into these programs as they truly change lives. I can’t thank them enough!!
– Lauren Cherrey, Class of 2021