Previously published in the 2017 Ouachitonian yearbook.
The importance of going abroad was highlighted again and again across college campuses. Kori Bullard, a junior biology major from Hot Springs, was one more example of how experiencing another country could add so much value to the educational experience.
Instead of staying close to home like most students did when pursuing a biology degree with the hopes of going to med school, Bullard decided to take a different approach. She shadowed doctors at a hospital in Portugal through a program called the Atlantis Project, which focused on providing opportunities for students to prepare for medical school admissions with intensive shadowing and global experiences in nine different locations.
“I’ve had opportunities to shadow doctors from home, and I believed it was vital to broaden my knowledge on an international basis,” Bullard said, “I wanted to expose myself to health care in other countries, and for this reason, I went overseas.”
She lived in a hotel with a roommate who was also going through the program. For five weeks, they were able to help each other focus on learning and observing the way hospitals operate.
“The most difficult thing about working at the hospital was the language barrier. Many of the doctors were very open and helpful, trying to stop and explain everything in English. But, there were some days when things were too busy, and we didn’t understand.” Bullard said.
Despite the language barrier, Bullard was able to gain practical knowledge from both the medical and business side of hospital work.
“It exposed me to diversity and showed me the medical profession in ways I couldn’t see in America. However, I also learned how respected and valued American medicine is across the world,” Bullard said.
One of Bullard’s favorite memories while working in the hospital was being able to watch a baby being born.
“Tears literally filled my eyes when I heard that sweet baby girl cry for the first time. Seeing the mother’s relief and sheer joy was an awesome moment. I definitely will never forget the first breath I heard from that baby,” Bullard said.
Outside of working in the hospital, Bullard made lasting friendships and took various trips around Europe.
“I saw all over the southern portion of Portugal. We kayaked the caves of Lagos, snorkeled, took hikes in the mountains of Monchique and parasailed and tubed in the ocean of Albufeira,” Bullard said, “I also took a weekend with some of my friends and traveled to Spain. I was glad I was able to travel to another country to see the beautiful sights of the city of Seville. I have so many favorite memories from these trips.”
“It was really hard when my friends and I were at dinner on the next to last weekend we were all in Portugal because we all came to the realization that it was ending and got super emotional. It was awesome to make such close friendships that will definitely last,” Bullard said.
After graduating, Bullard planned to attend medical school to possibly pursue being a pediatric surgeon. She believed her experiences in Portugal added to her knowledge of the medical field.
“I loved it overseas,” Bullard said, “However, rather than taking those experiences, knowledge and new viewpoints I gained and applying them to work abroad, I will use them to round out my portfolio and apply them to my life and professional career here in America.”
By Abbey Little
Photo by Andy Henderson
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