Recommend that students record their experience and growth while abroad. Journaling can be a very powerful way to reinforce observations and discoveries. For some students, writing a blog inspires them to capture what they are experiencing so they can share it with folks back home.
The discipline of writing something every day impacts how students observe, learn, and remember things and is an important personal and professional growth activity. Observation is the foundation of providing good healthcare.
When students return from a global experience, they will benefit from taking time to write about things that feel different or new, as well as their feelings, frustrations, and hopes, and how their global experience has changed their perspective. They should keep in mind that their ability to articulate what they learned through their experience will strengthen their application to a health profession program.
"Observation of the patient and family members provides valuable information far beyond the spoken word. It helps me formulate a more accurate diagnosis than if I only listen to what is said. Much has already been published on the usefulness of written reflection. Journaling and reflection helps me process what I encounter not only in the ER but in my personal life as well. The very act of writing clarifies my thoughts. It lets me release built up stresses by putting words to paper. And it is, also, a great way to relive any given day. It is worth the effort to keep a journal however one defines it." - Dr. Marilyn Mellor, Emergency Room Pediatrician