Recent Service High graduate Chan Mi Joo just received a full scholarship to spend eight months in Ecuador as part of the Global Citizen Year program. Global Citizen Year provides leadership opportunities in developing countries to high school graduates during a “bridge year” before college.
Chan Mi is the first Alaskan to participate in the program. According to the program’s website, students spend the school year in communities in Africa and Latin America while “contribut(ing) to local efforts in education, technology, health and the environment.”
Chan Mi is interested in medicine and would like to be a missionary doctor in medically underserved countries. She said she’s looking forward to being more independent and brave.
“Growing up in a warm and sheltered environment, I have never been able to truly experience the world on my own. This experience of going to a whole new country without my family or friends will allow me to understand my strengths and weaknesses,” Chan Mi said in an e-mail.
She said she’s hoping that her medical apprenticeship will give her insight into illnesses and medical treatments that are unique to rural Ecuador.
Chan Mi is not entirely a stranger to living in foreign places. When she was a baby her parents were missionaries in Nairobi, Kenya. Chan Mi said her parents inspire her to be passionate about political and medical issues in underdeveloped countries.
“Having missionary parents and living in Africa … has kindled a passion within me to help others spiritually, mentally and physically,” she said on her blog.
Chan Mi was the president of the Alaska Health Occupations Students of America and spent two summers at the UAA Della Keats Health Sciences Summer Program, which both help high school students explore careers in the medical field.
Jan Abbott, Senior Education Coordinator for Alaska HOSA, said she sees great things for Chan Mi.
“Chan Mi is hard working and dedicated to becoming a health care provider,” Abbott said in an e-mail. “I feel better about my future healthcare needs knowing that there are students like Chan Mi out there preparing to take care of us when the time comes.”
To learn more about Chan Mi's trip, visit her blog.