Meet the Fundraiser: Dhara K.


Meet Dhara K., Fundraising participant getting ready to study SALUD Medical Spanish in Santo Domingo

What is your background?
I am 20 years old, a senior undergraduate student,  dual majoring in International Studies and Biology, pre-med at Virginia Commonwealth University.  I currently live in Virginia Beach.

Do you travel abroad often? 
I was born in India and came to America at the age of 7 months.  I’ve been back almost every summer during grade school to visit family, and I developed an interest in international healthcare since shadowing a pediatrician in Surat, a major industrial city in India.  After two service trips to El Progreso, Honduras last year, I caught the travel bug—and it just won’t let me go!  I’m looking forward to serving our Spanish-speaking Central and South American neighbors as a physician one day.

Have you studied abroad? 
On Semester at Sea in Fall 2010, I completed coursework on a ship, the MV Explorer, with fellow American and international students, while traveling through Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong

Which languages do you speak or have studied? 
I speak Gujarati, my native language of India, and have studied Spanish for nine years.

Tell us about one of your biggest challenges you’ve encountered abroad.
Reverse culture shock—coming back to the United States and perceiving your society, peers, and family differently from the way you viewed them before—is really difficult to face.  They may not understand where you’ve been, the experiences you’ve had, the people who have touched your life so profoundly.  But have faith that there are people who will understand, who will help you make a difference in the world.  It’s really hard to realize that I am only one person and I can’t help everyone or fix all of the inequalities of the world.  Some say that my efforts are just a “drop in the bucket,” but I believe that as a future physician and educator of fellow healthcare providers and students, I hope that I can make a broader impact on my fellow Americans by sharing my traveling stories, and bringing others on my journeys abroad.

Santodomingo_birdwatching Why did you choose an AmeriSpan program?
I found the SALUD medical Spanish programs online and they struck my interest as an opportunity that would fit with my interests, so I decided to apply.


How are you fundraising? 
I am getting my previous high school, my current university, and my Virginia Beach community involved in my fundraising campaign.  I am setting up presentations and writing letters to local businesses and professional organizations to request donations. 

Do you have any tips for other fundraisers? 
The sky’s the limit!! Just get creative and don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are not possible!  Believe in yourself!

Do you have any tips or advice for others planning to studying abroad? 
No matter how much planning you do, you’re simply going to have to dive in, head first, and take the experience as it comes.  Remember to bring pictures of your friends and family, of important events—graduation, parties, etc.—from home so that the people you meet and the friends you make abroad can know your story as well.  Realize that you make just as big of an impact on them as they do on you.

Are there any fundraising activities that you want us to help promote? 
Not yet, but I will let you know!


See Dhara's Fundraising Story

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