Arts & Sciences student Emma Williams ‘19 is in Moshi, Tanzania for the summer studying the use of family planning among women of reproductive age. Williams, a biology and government double major, is also minoring in global health.
“The majority of our academic time is spent collaborating with Tanzanian medical students on Moshi-specific case studies,” she said. “Studying abroad has enabled me to collaborate with local students, form relationships with my homestay parents and siblings, do in-depth research on a topic I'm passionate about and experience a culture and natural setting different from my own.”
The global health minor requires an eight-week experiential learning opportunity, in which students live and work abroad in a resource-poor setting. Williams is also taking a policy analysis course at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College as part of the Cornell Global Health Summer Program.
“I became interested in the global health minor at Cornell as a bridge between my interests in medicine and government,” Williams said. The focus on family planning fits perfectly with her interests.
“It’s a fascinating topic largely because use of family planning is limited largely by socio-cultural factors,” she said. “All contraception is paid for by the government, but whether women are capable or willing to access these services is another matter entirely.”
Williams will spend her second month at a service placement working with abandoned and disabled children.
“There have definitely been challenges to this program,” she said. “My Swahili skills are in need of attention, and adapting to an unfamiliar town and lifestyle isn't always easy. But the people surrounding me make it all a lot easier and I couldn't imagine spending my summer anywhere else.”
Yvette Lisa Ndlovu is a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences.