Alexandrea Johnson returns from studying abroad in Portugal, Spain

An Alcorn State University sophomore is back from an enriching learning experience in another country.

Alexandrea Johnson, a biology/pre-medicine major recently returned to Mississippi after studying abroad at Hospital Santa Luiza in Portugal, Spain. Learning from some of Portugal's best doctors was a pivotal element to Johnson's development over the summer. She applauded their knowledge, and she appreciates the lessons they taught her.

"The doctors were great," said Johnson. "They had an answer to anything I wanted to know. I learned so much and gained a lot of knowledge about medicine and day-to-day life as a surgeon. I shadowed doctors in areas such as general surgeons, obstetricians, pediatricians, orthopedic surgeons, and ophthalmologists."

The internship taught Johnson lessons that she cannot only apply to her journey as a student at Alcorn but also as a professional in the future.

"Becoming familiar with the anatomy of the human body was important because it gave me a glimpse of the body during operation. I also learned to be patient. Finally, I learned that perseverance is pivotal when you want to be successful. There were days when I wanted to go home, but I was able to make it through."

According to Johnson, her stay in Portugal was filled with highlights. Because of her passion for babies, watching doctors deliver and care for the little ones were two standout moments for her.

"Watching natural births being performed is at the top of my list. I saw five natural births while shadowing different obstetricians for a week. On my first day, I saw three natural births; that was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. Also, I was elated when I peeked into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It melted my heart to see those babies lying there so peacefully. It motivated me even more to accomplish my dreams."

After spending time in the hospital during the week, Johnson and her peers were able to enjoy different cities in Portugal. She remembers the town as a place filled with excellent cuisine and culture.

"On weekends, I traveled to a few cities with my peers such as Braga, Porto, and Lisbon. I had such a great time while traveling and experiencing their culture. The cuisine was phenomenal; everything was authentic, and I loved it. I bonded with strangers that I now call family, and we talk every day. My experience helped me to grow as a person as well as a student."

Studying abroad is highly recommended by Johnson. She assures her peers that taking advantage of the opportunity would be a life-changing experience.

"Studying in another country can open so many doors to a brighter future. You can witness a different culture and engage in different activities that you don't normally see in America. Taking advantage of having the opportunity to study abroad will change your perspective on life, it will charge your drive to be better, and it will help mold you to be anything that you can dream of becoming."