Takes A Lot Of Courage

Megan Potyczka
Speech Pathology and Audiology Major
Global Perspective on Pediatric Rehabilitation in Dominican Republic (Faculty-led) , Spring 2017

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Studying abroad was always something I wanted to do. It didn’t really matter
where I went, I just wanted to travel and learn about something related to my field of
study, speech-language pathology. When I found out about this opportunity, I knew it
was my time.
Once in the Dominican Republic, I realized that this wasn’t going to be a “tropical
vacation” experience. As soon as I stepped off the plane, I was fully immersed in a
culture where I was the minority. The last time I spoke Spanish was 6 years ago in high
school. This was not the experience I thought I had signed up for…. It was better!
I had this amazing opportunity to experience what it was like to not be able to
express my thoughts. Now, that might sound crazy, but it allowed me to experience
what it’s like to have communication difficulties, which is what inspired me to become a
speech-language pathologist in the first place. There are so many ways to communicate
with someone even when you don’t speak the same language. Some people were
definitely more patient than others. But what was really exciting is that the children did
not care if we spoke the same language; they just wanted to play.
Because of this experience, I no longer take communication for granted and I am
more patient with individuals who speak a different language. Immersing yourself in a
new culture is not easy and takes a lot of courage, but that’s why we all chose to be a
Bronco, right?

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