Learning abroad in Mexico gave Ben Lueck a chance to sharpen his medical Spanish — and his intercultural perspective
“I definitely became much more fluent,” says Lueck. “But the things I remember most are seeing hospitals and learning about traditional medicine. [Before going to Mexico] I wasn’t even open to the idea that things could be different,” says Lueck.
Lueck’s experiences in Cuernavaca opened his eyes to what it’s like to practice medicine in another country and culture. Visiting hospitals, clinics, and a traditional medicine museum, and taking classes with teachers who work in the Mexican medical system provided Lueck with unexpected insights into how culture and history impact healthcare delivery.
On returning home to Minnesota, the microbiology major sees a direct connection with his aspiration to become a doctor. “Learning about Mexico’s health system from people who work in it and know it opened my eyes to things back here, to why our system is the way it is, and culture actually plays a surprisingly large role. Recognizing that everyone sees things differently based on their life experiences was valuable for me,” says Lueck, who believes that gaining intercultural competence will be critical in his work with patients in years to come.
"You walk into a hospital here in the Twin Cities and you might be working with someone from anywhere in the world,” says Lueck. “It’s important to understand that they might speak differently than you. They might dress differently than you. They might think differently than you. And it’s because they’ve seen different things than you, they’ve done things in different ways.”
– Lance Janssen