Wherever I went, from a café in Ulaanbaatar, to a nomadic family’s gehr in the Gobi, the people I meet were incredibly hospitable and welcoming. It is customary for nomadic families to invite tired travelers (now usually curious travelers) into their homes and offer tea and snacks. This custom has persisted and I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome. As I boarded the plane at Chinggis Khan Airport back to SFO, I was already eager to come back. I am so grateful to the Anderson Family for their generosity in supporting this project. This was my first experience working in global medicine, as well as in designing and implementing a project. I gained insight into the unique challenges of conducting international research, including communicating across a language barrier, working in a setting with limited resources, and navigating a foreign health care system. I also had the opportunity to experience Mongolia’s rich culture. I look forward to collaborating with our Mongolian colleagues over the next year, and am excited about the impact this research will have on maternal and child health.
Divya Patel is a medical student at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Her project, “Prevalence of Group B Streptococcus in Pregnant Women in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,” is supported by the Anderson Family Global Health Immersion Fellowship.