Summer Field Experience Spotlight: South Africa to Argentina, GH Students Complete Field Experience with CFHI Program (2017)

Two UC San Diego Global Health students returned from the field this summer after completing their Field Experience with Child Family Health International (CFHI) , a non-profit organization that provides students the unique opportunity of global health education, international exposure, and a rich-immersed learning setting.  Students truly learn about the Global Health challenges of their chosen setting while living in their community. 

Two Global Health students share their experience…

Shivani Mehta

Cape Town, South Africa


Shivani, a fourth year Global Health major, spent three weeks volunteering for the CFHI program,  Healthcare Challenges at Victoria Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. At Victoria Hospital, Shivani rotated among the internal medicine department, intensive care unit, and the surgical unit. Throughout these rotations, she was able to shadow a doctor and aid in simple procedures.

While residing in Cape Town, Shivani witnessed the healthcare challenges that the South Africans face. She was shocked to see the amount of low-income and low-education families and was saddened by the number of people who are currently impacted by infectious diseases.

Aside from volunteering in the hospital, Shivani participated in a rural development and sustainable medical outreach program through Elgin Learning Foundation in the Grabouw village. In this program, Shivani was required to educate the population on HIV/AIDS prevention, sanitation, STI/STD prevention, fetal alcohol syndrome, and maternal/child health.  Shivani felt that she most impacted her audience by stressing the importance of these health issues; Shivani communicated with strong emotion and a sense of urgency, all in an effort for the families to listen and learn.

After completing her Field Experience, Shivani reflected on her own life, conveying that she is incredibly grateful for her good health and her daily privileges.  More importantly, Shivani felt that she was able to instill much-needed hope into many. Shivani intends to tie her Field Experience to her senior thesis and research symposium, where she plans on further analyzing patterns and trends of HIV/AIDS and TB and their impact on South African population.

Zani Roberts

Cordoba, Argentina


UC San Diego senior, Zani Roberts, has examined the societies and cultures of over 30 different countries around the world.  Upon returning from her world travels, Zani felt inspired to work toward affecting change in our every day healthcare so she decided to pursue a degree in Global Health in preparation for a career in Primary Care. Most recently, Zani was able to apply her passion for medicine and healing during her Field Experience in Cordoba, Argentina, CFHI’s  5-week Primary Care and Social Medicine Program.

Zani spent her mornings as a clinical volunteer at the San Roque public hospital where she used her interpersonal skills to connect with the patients and to forge meaningful connections with the staff, all in an effort to develop as a future medical practitioner.

I was inspired by their commitment to service and the way they fought to keep the public hospitals free and accessible to the people…the passion of the people was the most moving aspect of the experience to me.

In the afternoons Zani attended classes where she learned about endemic diseases, Argentina’s culture and medical system, and the necessary medical/clinical Spanish language skills. In her free time, Zani met with the medical community to talk about Argentina’s medical system and history.  Zani was more than appreciative of the mentoring that went beyond her daily shift and which allowed her to fully immerse herself in the culture. She also had the opportunity to visit many beautiful locations in Argentina including Iguazu Falls and Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires.

Zani is not surprised by how many areas of her life were positively impacted by this program.  She often speaks of her time in Cordoba in her current Spanish language conversation class and in her clinical psychology class, she references the program by contrasting the mental health care that she was exposed to at the hospital to the way that patients are treated in the US.  Zani plans to write her senior capstone thesis on this experience, which will start next semester.   Additionally, Zani is eager to share about her time in Argentina and often times incorporates this experience into her current interviews for Physician Assistant schools; she believes that it makes her a more interesting candidate.

Keep a look out for more blog posts on Field Experience summer spotlights!