Students reflect on time away from America

Summer break is an opportunity for many UNA students to travel overseas for various reasons, whether for military purposes, to study abroad or to visit family.

Senior nursing student Lauren Craig spent 10 days in Guatemala studying abroad this summer.

“I would go back in a heartbeat,” Craig said. “I would have went without the college credit and I would have stayed a lot longer. It was awesome.”

Craig said there were many differences between American and Guatemalan health care.

“We went to public and private hospitals,” Craig said. “(Guatemala) technically has public health care, but the government doesn’t give them enough money. If you can’t pay for it yourself, you don’t get the medicine.”

Craig said when someone dies in a Guatemalan public hospital, a casket must be purchased in order for the family to see their deceased loved one.

“We watched three kids die and we paid for their caskets,” Craig said. “The moment I watched that first little boy die, I just wanted to call my mom.”

Craig said the trip showed her how privileged she was to live in America.

“The amount of resources we have here is unbelievable compared to what they have,” Craig said. “It was worth every smile I got, every baby I got to hold and every heartbeat I got to hear. It was worth every minute of it.”

Junior Tyler Putt, a member of ROTC, said traveling around the world is nothing new to him.

“I’m a military dependent so I’ve lived out of the country for a long time,” Putt said. “I lived in Germany for three years and Japan for eight years. I lived the other half of my life in the United States for about 11 years.”

Putt said since his father is also in the military, being away from family became a usual occurrence.

“It’s kind of a culture-shock,” Putt said. “I’m very family oriented. At the same, I’m a (military) dependent so it’s been my life. I know how to fend for myself.”

Putt said something he misses about America when he travels for military purposes is not being able to attend funerals.

“It’s difficult being in a military family when you have a death,” Putt said. “It has to be your immediate family or your grandparents. That’s the only way they will fund you to send you back for a funeral, so I’ve missed a lot of funerals.”

While some students went away from America and left their families behind, others went to their home country to reunite with family.

Freshman Ahmad Sherbeeny said coming to UNA from Egypt was his first experience being away from his family.

“It was my first time living alone and being abroad alone,” Sherbeeny said. “It felt like I was at home again. You know your parent’s worth once you have been abroad for a while.”

Sherbeeny said while it was good to visit his family in Egypt, he missed aspects of the American life.

“I missed the simplicity and ease of life here in general,” Sherbeeny said. “And (I missed) the food of course, especially in Alabama. I like Southern food lot.”

Sherbeeny said even though he missed being in America, he also enjoyed his time back home.

“I had fun in Egypt,” Sherbeeny said. “I just try to have fun wherever I’m at.”