JOSEPH STENDER/ Sun-Gazette
Chad Guiswite, a Lock Haven University sophomore, will travel to Colombia for a week over the summer. Guiswite will make the trip with Go International to help the Colombian people with medical treatments and to educate them about diseases and healthy lifestyles.
LOCK HAVEN -While most college students will spend their break working a summer job, on the beach or taking extra classes, a Lock Haven University student will travel with a group to help another country's people.
Chad Guiswite, a physician assistant major who is finishing up his sophomore year at Lock Haven, has made plans to travel with a team of medical experts to South America - mainly Colombia - for a week.
"I'm going with a team of anesthesologists, general surgeons, dentists and nurses and pharmacists," he said. "(We're) providing medical care for the poor parts of the country."
The week-long trip - June 20 through June 28 - will take Guiswite and the medical team to different locations in the area to give treatments.
Guiswite first heard about the opportunity to go on the trip during a meeting with his academic adviser.
"I met with my adviser to see if there is anything I could do to make my application stick out," Guiswite said.
After the meeting, Guiswite said he immediately started looking at the organization Go International to find out details. He said he emailed them and "asked a lot of questions," before making his decision to join the trip - although it didn't take a lot of convincing.
Guiswite booked the trip the very next day with the help of his mom who, he said, had hesitation about him going.
But as he learned more about the area, he said some hesitation of his own crept into the back of his mind.
"I'm a little nervous because I heard some stories," he said.
Guiswite also wondered if he had made an impulsive decision.
"I was excited but I thought maybe I didn't think it all the way through," he explained.
Guiswite's excitement now outweighs the nerves, but explained the reason he made the decision so fast was that he didn't want time to talk himself out of the experience.
"I figured the more I looked into it, the more I might hesitate," he said.
He wasn't required to take any classes in order to be a part of the trip that will look to help about 2,500 people, but he said he has a "good grip" on Spanish, as he took five levels of it in high school. A class at Jersey Shore Area High School also was where Guiswite first became interested in the medical field.
"I took an anatomy class in high school and liked it a lot," he said.
Guiswite said when he first told family and friends about the trip, they didn't believe him.
Although he's almost completed all of his classes on health science, Guiswite won't be participating in treatments; rather, he will help educate the Colombian people.
"We'll mostly be educating the people over there on diseases and stuff like that," he explained.
In order to help fund the trip, Guiswite put some of his savings into it. He also sent out letters to family and friends asking for any help that could be offered.
Guiswite still is looking for ways to fund part of the $1,000 airfare.
Guiswite expects the trip to not only be a learning experience for school but culturally, as well.
"A good learning experience, not to take things for granted. I know I'll see a bunch of things down there. (I want to be) able to help people who can't help themselves," he said.
To learn more about Guiswite's trip, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.