Year: Third year
When Emmanuel Rodriguez-Rivera studied abroad in Berlin, Germany, he conducted research as an intern in a hospital lab by day. By night and on the weekends, the third-year neuroscience student could be found exploring World War II historical sites, strolling through wondrous museums, and boarding trains to nearby countries.
“[Studying abroad] was a once in a lifetime experience,” Rodriguez-Rivera said. “It really helped to solidify my interests in what I want to do in the future—and gave me extremely valuable hands-on experience.”
Rodriguez-Rivera has been intrigued by science and fascinated with medicine since elementary school. He chose to study neuroscience because it represented uncharted territory to him in both fields—and Case Western Reserve gave him the opportunity to immerse himself fully.
“I knew [CWRU was] capable of providing me with all the tools and support to get me to where I … wanted to be when I graduated, and just get the best out of me as a student—and as a person,” he said.
Also at the university, Rodriguez-Rivera is involved with La Alianza, a Latinx student organization that celebrates Latinx culture, and he works as a research assistant in a lab focused on finding new treatments for infections and inflammatory diseases controlled by a costimulatory protein.
Rodriguez-Rivera is also involved with the Global Medical Brigades, a student organization that provides citizens in economically disadvantaged countries with consistent access to healthcare.
During the group’s latest trip to Honduras over the summer, Rodriguez-Rivera was able to observe doctor-patient interactions and even gain hands-on experience extracting a tooth.
“Besides [offering] medical experience and insight,” he noted, “the brigades provide me with a different perspective on how the healthcare system works in other countries in comparison to ours. Additionally, it helps me … understand why it is essential everyone has access to healthcare.”
After graduating, Rodriguez-Rivera hopes to attend medical school to continue living what he’s passionate about while being of service to his community.
“Thinking that one day I will be able to [help people around me]—that keeps me motivated,” he said.
Case Western Reserve University is preparing for its annual Study Abroad Fair Sept. 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the Case Quad. Rodriguez-Rivera encourages all students, no matter their career interests, to attend.
“I think [studying abroad] is the perfect opportunity to explore the world while studying or doing what you love,” he said.
The fair will feature all of the various study abroad options available to CWRU students: faculty-led CWRU courses that go abroad over school breaks, full summer and semester programs abroad, internships and research abroad and other opportunities.
Students can get their questions answered all in one place from international representatives, faculty who lead programs, students who have gone abroad, and study abroad advisors.