But despite all of those lessons and more, I think the real value of an experience like MHIRT - the reason the National Institutes of Health continue to pay for minority students to gain international research experiences - is a little more personal. I believe travel, international travel especially, provides us with an unparalleled opportunity to expand our own perceptions of what we're capable of.
The opportunity we're provided is less an investment in our CV and more an investment in us, as humans. The friendships we forge, the languages we pick up, the different ways of being we witness, all unleash our capacity for empathy and creativity - traits invaluable to those who seek a place in as dizzyingly broad of a field as "health." I know I speak for all my fellow MHIRT Summer 2016 participants when I extend my sincere and deep gratitude to the program directors at Christian Brothers University and to the administrators at the NIH who made these incredible adventures possible. Thank you so very much. Apwoyo matek.