Chelsea Tweneboah ’15 was selected to receive an Enrichment Grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship to help support her community development work in Brazil. One of multiple international impact opportunities that Chelsea has pursued during her time at Wesleyan, this experience continued to shape her aspirations for a career in the health field. You can read Chelsea’s story below, and visit the PCSE website to learn more about our grant programs.
This summer I was presented the opportunity to work in Brazil through AIESEC Yale in the field of community development. The project took place in a city called Riberiao Preto in the state of Sao Paulo. The basis of the internship was that I would be working in a community center assisting the coordinators in the field of health, technology, and home economics. I choose to pursue this experience because I have an interest in an international career in health. Usually my days were that I would arrive at work and either assist with either of the three labs (health, technology, or home economics) and work with community members in really developing these skills. During the process of applying to this program, I believed I would gain the skills necessary to work in different communities that were different culturally from my own. With such international experience I can build my cultural awareness with communities I may get to work with in the future.
Being in Brazil for two months was an eye opening experience. I did not have a background in the Portuguese language but I do have a background in Spanish, which I thought could help me in picking up the Portuguese language quickly. Although it did help to some extent, my deep understanding of the language came from having to converse with my host family and the people and the Community Center. In addition to the language, I became privy to Brazilian culture and way of life, especially on how the country is one of the most multi-racial countries in the world. Being introduced to the Brazilian cuisine also gave way to providing insight into the history of Brazil. Foods such as feijoada and kibe show how a mix of cultures went into making Brazil what it is today.
Overall, this experience provided me with a unique skill set that I hope to take with me in my future endeavors. Learning how to connect with people on a human-to-human level, especially in a different language, will most certainly help me in the health field. Being independent for two months also revealed what type of person I can be in different situation whether they are good or bad. In the future, I hope to continue to challenge myself so that I be a well-rounded member of my profession.