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Notes from Abroad: Yvette in Costa Rica
Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience. This week’s feature is from Yvette Ramirez’18 a Biology major and Chinese minor currently studying abroad with ACM in Costa Rica.
Name: Yvette Ramirez ’18
Program: ACM- Costa Rica
¡Hola! My name is Yvette Ramirez and I am currently studying abroad in Costa Rica. The program consists of taking an intensive Spanish and a research methods class for the first month, conducting research on a topic of interest and collecting data for the following two months, and then finishing the Spanish class and analyzing data for the last month. Although I am a native Spanish speaker, I chose to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country to improve my Spanish in professional settings and to improve my reading and writing abilities since I had never taken a Spanish class before.
I am currently focusing on my research and working alongside my adviser to collect data. When I arrived in Costa Rica, I knew I wanted to do research about physical therapy because I am thinking about doing that as a profession and was interested in learning more about it. When I met my adviser, she told me that she works in a clinic, but then also spends a lot of time volunteering at several hospitals offering physical therapy to babies who need the stimulation to help with their physical development. She began to explain to me that giving babies physical therapy is something that is not as common and that not a lot of therapists do, but is something that she has seen make a big difference and is more preventative than corrective. However, she has noticed that a lot of babies who can benefit greatly from the therapy never get the referral and later develop physical problems that could have possibly been prevented.
I thought to myself, “wait, so if I do research in this field, I would be able to learn more about physical therapy AND spend time with adorable little babies?! Count me in!” After some literature review, I realized that what my adviser had told me was correct- this topic is new and little to no research has been done about it. Therefore, for my research I am focusing on is collecting data that describes the parental knowledge of someone who’s child is going through physical therapy, as well as the awareness medical staff of these babies have about the effects of physical therapy may have for their patients.
The process of figuring out exactly what I wanted to research and planning everything has been difficult, but it’s a topic that I am very interested in and I’m excited to see what the results will show. My hopes are that my research can help start conversations about improving how babies’ physical development is evaluated and spreading awareness about how stimulation through physical therapy can help prevent developmental problems that may occur in the future. I’m extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to do this research while I live in and explore an amazing and beautiful new country. I would especially like to thank the donors of the Ingrid H. and George L. Speros Scholarship for Study Abroad for helping make this experience possible for me.