OCTOBER 13, 2016 – FORT MYERS, FLA. – When student Alexis Thompson enrolled at Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) to fulfill some science prerequisites for her master’s degree, she never expected it would lead her halfway across the world.
With a passion for travel and volunteering, Thompson learned about the Harris Wofford Global Service Fellowship through FSW’s Center for International Education’s Study Abroad program. She applied and received the scholarship, and in coordination with Cross Cultural Solutions, an international volunteer service organization, she chose to focus her three week program in the medical clinics in Ho, Ghana.
“I’ve always had wanderlust,” Thompson said. “It’s a personal goal to volunteer on every continent. I’ve done a lot of work in Latin and Central America and the Caribbean, but Africa was always a dream.”
In Ghana’s Miracle Life Clinic, Thompson shadowed a doctor diagnosing patients and testing for malaria and typhoid, and helped nurses check patient vital signs. She also spent some time in the maternity/women’s clinic of a regional hospital alongside a midwife doing prenatal and postnatal checks and ultrasounds, giving vaccinations, and educating women how to nurse and how to prevent transmission of HIV.
While Thompson spent her mornings volunteering at the clinics, her afternoons were focused on cultural activities organized by Cross Cultural Solutions, experiencing life in the local markets, taking weaving and cooking lessons, and visiting schools. However, one experience stood out the most for her.
“We visited Elmina castle where enslaved Africans were held before they were forced onto the slave ships,” she said. “It was the last time they were in Africa, and the last thing they saw. It is part of my history and culture, and it was intensely emotional to experience it.”
Her time spent in the clinics has solidified Thompson’s dream to work in the medical profession. She plans to attend George Washington University in Washington D.C.
“I would like to become an OB/GYN and focus on medical disparity and global health.”
Students can apply for the Harris Wofford Global Service Fellowship at the FSW Center for International Education at the FSW Thomas Edison Campus, Building K, Room 240.
FSW’s Center for International Education offers many study abroad, service learning, and international internship opportunities for FSW students. To learn more, visit https://www.fsw.edu/internationaleducation.
Florida SouthWestern State College is Southwest Florida’s largest and one of the most affordable institutions of higher education. Annually serving nearly 22,000 students globally, FSW offers a variety of nationally-ranked, career-focused academic programs with two- and four-year degrees, and professional certifications. Students are also active in clubs and programs catered to their interests. FSW debuted its intercollegiate athletics program in January 2016. Visit www.FSW.edu for more information.