Name: Abby Leclerc
Major(s): Neuroscience and Behavior
Class Year: 2019
When and how did you get involved with YSI?
This summer, one of my friends from home, who goes to Villanova, went to Haiti on a YSI trip. When she came back, she had nothing but good things to say about her week and her experience with YSI. When I returned to school, I was excited to hear about YSI having a presence on the UNH campus, so I applied and was accepted.
Which expeditions have you gone on?
I went on the third January session of 2017.
What are your future plans with us?
I have totally fallen in love with YSI and it’s mission and am already looking forward to returning next January, maybe as a leader.
What is your favorite memory from your trip(s) to Haiti?
Going into this experience, I wanted to help as much as I could, but I didn’t really understand the magnitude of YSI’s service. The night of the last clinic day, one of our leaders announced that we had seen, helped, given medication to over 170 people in our clinics. That was a surreal moment for me and I realized how positive and important of an impact we had made in just a week.
My experience was so much better because of the people I was with, too. The friends I made are some of the most caring and coolest people I know, and they gave their all to YSI’s mission. All of my memories with them are good ones, whether it was working in the clinic together, being out in the field, staying up at night playing games and talking, or walking to the beach.
What would you say to somebody who is unsure whether or not YSI is right for them?
Going on the expedition this January was probably the best decision I could have made. As someone who wants to pursue a career in the medical field I have always wanted to go on a medical brigade to get experience and perspective and to help those in need. There are so many organizations to travel through, which is great, but a lot of them are costly and shift their focus more on the travellers instead of the people who need help. While YSI does a great job of ensuring you have a great trip at a lower cost, they maintain great relations and communication with the community, which allows the organization to serve in the most impactful way possible.
What is your biggest take away from the experiences that you have had with YSI?
People in Haiti are so welcoming and fun to be around, despite their challenging living and financial situations--he average income in the area we were in is about 220 USD a year. Life is such a gift, and the Haitians I’ve met have given me perspective and reminded me be grateful for everything I have.
It’s also so amazing to be able to help people and have the hands-on experience I’ve been looking for. It confirms my ideas about wanting to go into the medical field, hopefully as a nurse.