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Michelle Mages

Pharm.D. candidate, Global and Comparative Public Health concentration, Certificate of Competency in Spanish
Hastings, Minn.

Back when I was in high school, I never would have pictured myself going to Peru, let alone spending two months there working in a hospital while learning and speaking in Spanish. But that’s exactly how I spent last summer between my final pre-pharmacy year and first professional year at Drake. 

I lived with a host family in Cusco, Peru, while I had a service-learning internship at a La Clínica de San José. I went on rotations with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and biologists, and was able to help with things like pouring iodine to clean wounds, transporting patients to surgery, and just providing extra hands as needed. All conversations were in Spanish, which was definitely a challenge. I was constantly learning.

Caring for patients in South America brought a new perspective to the way I look at health care. I now understand more about how culture, worldview, and health perspective make an impact on a patient’s situation; I’m able to look at things differently now. I had talked extensively about international health with one of my pharmacy professors, and as soon as I got back from Peru we went and had coffee for about two hours. I was able to ask him questions about health practices I saw there, and he really helped me reflect and learn from my experiences.

My time at Drake so far has been amazing—and definitely challenging. My professors want me to succeed, support me completely, and challenge me to go beyond what I ever thought I could do.

Visit for more of Michelle’s impressions and images from her time in Peru.

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