By Brianna Samonte
Biology Pre-Medicine Major, Honors College
Last summer, I had the amazing opportunity to go on a vocational mission trip to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic with eight other honors students.
I was assigned to the healthcare site due to my interest in pursuing medicine. I had the opportunity to work alongside Fernando (MD, OBGYN), Rachel (PA), Katie (RN) and five other college students. When I signed up for this ministry, I figured we would be shadowing professionals in a hospital, observing procedures and performing basic tasks such as checking vital signs.
Boy was I wrong.
We were constantly on the go, visiting patients in their homes and setting up clinics in rural communities. Through my ministry, I was not only able to learn more about medicine abroad, but also meet countless individuals from a wide range of backgrounds and social statuses.
In the Dominican Republic, most individuals cannot afford private healthcare so they attend public hospitals with limited resources and space, or they just do not receive the medical attention they desperately need. Because of this, the Students International ministry decided to work on improving the healthcare given to these people by setting up clinics and performing house visits essentially free of charge. During my service, I assisted in taking vital signs, filling medication, testing blood glucose levels, performing prenatal checkups and much more.
This trip not only solidified my desire to be a healthcare professional, but it also opened my eyes to what kind of physician I aspire to be. I learned that I aim to be a doctor who treats each and every patient with love, compassion and empathy; who understands the value of every human life; and who allows God to work through her in order to grow His Kingdom and display His grace and love.
My time in the Dominican Republic went far beyond acquiring medical experience and knowledge. At the end of the two weeks, new relationships were formed, my eyes were opened and my heart was changed forever. The Dominican people have very little, but they live like they have a lot because, for them, quality relationships bring happiness.
The Dominican people and culture taught me the importance of refocusing my life on the Lord as well as the value of relationships. In the U.S., we get so caught up in work, our fast-paced lifestyle and the need to succeed that we don’t take the time to appreciate life and the people in it. My experience abroad has changed my daily life because now I stop to take the time to appreciate the life I have and those around me.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Dominican Republic. It was full of unforgettable moments and I would not have changed a thing, especially the individuals from GCU who accompanied me on the trip. I shared such a special time with my fellow honors students, and it is a two weeks that I will always cherish and remember.
The GCU Honors College offers a variety of opportunities for its students, including exclusive honors mission trips. Learn more by visiting our website or contacting us using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.
More About Brianna:
Brianna Samonte is an aspiring physician. She was born and raised in Southern California, where she participated in cheerleading, volleyball and student government. At GCU, she has the pleasure of working as a College of Science, Engineering and Technology liaison for the Honors College. Additionally, Brianna is the director of internal affairs for ASGCU, GCU’s student government organization, and the president of HOSA, the largest science and pre-health club on campus. In her free time, she enjoys crafting, going to the beach, watching movies and country line dancing.
Brianna’s passion for medicine stems from her passion for combining knowledge and natural skills and abilities to love and serve others. Her goal as a future physician is to provide a type of care for patients that is compassionate and radically loving.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.