During my time interning for Dr. Sumita Satarkar at her acupuncture clinic Swasthya Santulan in Pune India, I was given a list of four tasks to complete. My primary task was to compose interviews with past patients in order to report individual success stories using Acupuncture as a method of treatment. This consisted of short interviews where I asked a list of questions which I generated myself to spark each patient's experience. I then turned these into short success stories which I shared with Dr. Satarkar. In addition, I was responsible for creating patient exercise videos in which I demonstrated a variety of exercises for patients to be able to access remotely from home. More broadly, my role was primarily to both learn from Dr. Satarkar as well as assist her in creating success stories.
This experience was both challenging and valuable, especially considering the online format. Going into this experience, I did not know what to expect, and realized quickly that my work was going to be very independent. Despite having met with my coordinator and supervisor, I struggled immensely within the first few weeks with understanding the expectations of my four tasks. One of the challenges I faced was understanding the expectations that were had for my work. Given my condensed timeline due to my departing for my study abroad program before the internship period ended, I only had 5 weeks to complete the 120 hour requirement. One of the tasks that I had to complete was to create individual exercise videos in which I was to demonstrate how to complete a variety of exercises. These were intended to help patients in their treatment process from the comfort of their homes during the pandemic. After spending a great amount of time filming these videos, I sent them to be reviewed by both Dr. Satarkar and my IFSA coordinator. Upon receiving these videos, my IFSA coordinator reached out to me kindly asking if I would be able to re-film my videos as wearing shorts would be seen as slightly inappropriate to be shared with Dr. Satarkar’s patients. I agreed to refilm and create these videos again wearing more appropriate clothing. The key lesson I learned during this was to ask as many questions as possible, especially when minimal direction is given. I was not told prior to filming these videos that I should wear specific clothing, which is definitely something to consider due to the cultural differences between the U.S and India. Although I should have considered this prior to filming these videos, I believe this instance acted as a great learning experience as I had to re-film and essentially re-do one of the tasks that I was in charge of completing. Despite my frustration I learned that asking questions is critical and having a voice is just as important. Although I struggled to complete the tasks I was initially assigned, this experience gave me the opportunity to learn from a professional and admire the work she has completed over the years. Although I do wish that I was able to have this experience in person, I am grateful none-the-less for this opportunity to both learn and challenge myself and would encourage future students to apply and get the chance to gain experience in a field of their interest too!