Right before spring break, my practicum plans fell through, so I rode the wave of disappointment earlier than everybody else and for reasons unrelated to the virus. With the possibilities for practica suddenly narrowed down, finding a position became a somewhat simpler task.
An opportunity matching my interests soon presented itself in the form of a collaborative project between Gillings and Chronic Care International, a non-profit based in Omaha, Nebraska, to assist in designing an evaluation for a diabetes peer support program in the Dominican Republic. I am currently working from home in Basel, Switzerland to develop a literature review describing the evidence base for the program and to compile a list of instruments that have been used to evaluate similar programs in the past. For now, I am mostly working independently, apart from a weekly afternoon meeting with my preceptor, so the time change has had minimal impact on my experience. I am learning to grapple with the unpredictability that seems common in low-resource settings. In the grand scheme of things during these tumultuous times, it is much easier for me to be relaxed when dealing with these manageable ambiguities as they present themselves.
For me, the pandemic has produced some positives. I had assumed that my practicum plans would inevitably conflict with my ability to spend the summer in my hometown with my family, which I try to weave into my summer plans as much as possible. When not working, I spend my time reading, exploring the hills on my bike, playing intense ping pong matches with my mom, taking walks through the forests and fields with my family, catching up with friends from home, and making the most of having an easily accessible piano to play (a true luxury!). I am grateful for the extra time I get to spend here in Basel, a place that I know I will not have the privilege of calling my home forever.