After years of late-night studying and difficult tests which resulted in a health science undergraduate degree, Christina Maida started to have her doubts about going into the medical field.
So after earning her diploma, Maida decided to do something that is popular amongst many young adults. She packed her bags, booked a plane ticket, and headed off to a different continent, finally landing in Ecuador. But instead of heading back home after a few weeks or even a few months, she stayed, for three years. During her time, she’s been improving her Spanish, learning about a new culture, and investigating her growing interest in the social justice field.
Ecuador is a country straddling the equator on South America’s west coast.
Why did you specifically choose to go to Ecuador?
I had come here during university for a service-learning program, so I was observing doctors and nurses here. I liked it and knew what it was like, so I figured the transition would be easier since I knew what it was like basically. It also kind of had some similarities with my home state (Hawaii) because it’s small and the climate is similar.
Did Ecuador help you realize that you wanted to go into the social justice field?
The last semester I wasn’t actually sure if I wanted to go into medicine or not, but I definitely wanted a break. I figured that it wouldn’t be good to go to medical school if I wasn’t sure about it. So I figured I would take a while to decide. So after I came here for a while then I decided that, for sure, no I didn’t want to go into medicine.
How did Ecuador help you decide to leave medicine altogether?
I would say it was due to the lack of awareness around things such as sexism etc
What have you seen in Ecuador that helped you realize that it is not as conscious about these issues?
There are various things. There ways in which females are treated, violence against women, lack of socioeconomic imbalance.
Besides helping you decide to move away from medicine, how do you think your time in Ecuador has benefited you?
It has benefited me in several ways in which I am grateful. My language ability with Spanish has improved and so has my knowledge about the culture here. I have also matured and become very aware of the world. I’ve definitely become more mature and learnt how to do deal with negative people in a better way. Travelling is an amazing and valuable opportunity that every young person should experience.
Have you worked in another country apart from your hometown? How was the experience? Would you like to share the experience with FWL?