Posted on February 27, 2011
Liz McKay '08. Medical student, mezzo soprano. While attending Wheaton, I spent the summer between my junior and senior years as a Davis Fellow in Awassa, Ethiopia. My time in Africa was both challenging and incredibly rewarding. During my stay, I worked with an NGO youth organization where I coordinated and conducted English and basic music lessons to street children. I traveled to the country with a suitcase filled with tambourines, xylophones, wooden blocks and recorders – all popular and very welcomed gifts to children who had never seen such things. I was also involved in spearheading an initiative to establish acting and dancing workshops for the young women involved in the NGO, with a strong emphasis on self-confidence, body language and nonverbal communication. Despite the setbacks and difficult days as the only young, white woman within a 50mile radius, I cannot express how invaluable this experience was in my life. I fully encourage any student even remotely interested in traveling abroad to pursue this opportunity. It has colored my life and global perspective in ways that resonate years after I left the country. You will be astounded by your ability to grow and learn to understand yourself more readily in an unfamiliar environment and the bonds you make will leave a lasting impression.