Understanding

Authored by:
Danielle W.

I have had so many great experiences throughout my Berlin trip that will ultimately change the way that I view the world. I have experienced history by seeing the Berlin Wall and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. They taught me that it is always important to learn from past mistakes and to understand the struggles of all people. For example, the tour guides expressed to us that Jewish people were not the only people who were put into concentration camps. This fact reminded me that all people, who are discriminated against, should be remembered. I have also experienced culture and communication by being a part of a local community. I know my way around the neighborhood and I am able to communicate with people on the train and in restaurants. I think that it is better to not be a typical tourist of a country because I can be independent and I can go to local places. Although, the local areas have taught me about history, culture, and communication, one particular experience has shown me what it means to be global.

One of my favorite parts of my Berlin trip is seeing the German Red Cross. To me, this organization is a great example of global unity because it unites countries for the greater good. Their principles show that they look beyond borders and prejudices. In class, we talked about how prejudices can causes improper health encounters. We did skits and some examples of prejudices in the health world are assuming that a black person is on Medicaid or assuming that a Hispanic person cannot speak English. This can cause distrust of the healthcare system, on the patient side. One of the most important questions that I heard while we were in German Red Cross session was: How does the German Red Cross overcome cultural and communication barriers? The speaker said that the German Red Cross can plan health initiatives in other countries, and they ultimately train people from the local community, so people can have trust the organization. This shows that the German Red Cross cares about the trust and comfort level of the people that they serve.

By reflecting on the past two weeks, I think the most important thing to have while participating in global health is understanding. A lot can be done if people collaborate globally and understand the differences in culture. For example, health workers do not understand death rituals in some parts of Africa, where they keep and bless dead bodies for a few days after a person dies. If health workers speak to and understand people in Africa, they can negotiate and find ways to respect death rituals and also remove infectious dead bodies. Understanding may not happen in the next few years because people are really different, but hopefully people will collaborate for the betterment of the world.

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