During spring 2023, Swechha Maharjan ’24 and Christina Ssenkaayi ’24 were two of 11 Regis students who traveled on a 10-day immersive learning program to Chile, South America. Led by Regis faculty as part of a global public health course offered at Regis, students examined how culture and business affect health and environmental issues in the remote desert region of San Pedro de Atacama.

Regis students and faculty pose on a desert mountain peak in Chile, South America during a 10-day immersive learning program

Regis students and faculty in Chile, South America during a 10-day immersive learning program

The group began their visit to Chile in the capital city of Santiago before traveling north to Antofagasta, a region with significant immigrant populations from across Latin America due to the economic opportunities afforded by the copper mining industry. During the program, students visited migrant settlements and worked with several different organizations to advocate for universal access to health services. It was here that Maharjan and Ssenkaayi first met Anjelica Cid, a gender equality activist who organizes runs to bring awareness to local and global issues of violence against women.

Inspired by the work of Cid, Maharjan and Ssenkaayi returned to Regis motivated to make a difference. With the help of their faculty advisor Professor Manuel Cifuentes, MD, MPH, ScD, who co-led the program, Maharjan and Ssenkaayi hosted their own run on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Swechha Maharjan ’24 and Christina Ssenkaayi ’24 pose on the College Hall parterre

Swechha Maharjan ’24 and Christina Ssenkaayi ’24 returned to Regis motivated to make a difference.

“At Regis, we hope every student who chooses to study abroad will return home inspired,” said Megan Gibbons, PhD, director of the Center for Global Connections. “Their vision to raise campus awareness of global social injustice reflects the university’s focus on creating an inclusive environment in which innovation thrives through the work of our students, whose ideas to promote diversity matter. I am so proud of Swechha and Christina’s tireless efforts to incorporate what they learned abroad into action items and events back on campus.”

A key component of the Regis mission is to assist students in their pursuit to positively impact the world. The program in Chile is one of many global experiences available to Regis students of all ages and majors. Programs range from one week to one semester and take place all around the world. For more information about studying abroad, visit The Center for Global Connections.

The experience in Chile was made possible thanks in part to a generous donation from Leslie Mandel, PhD, MA, MSM, professor of public health and health administration and program director, public health (undergraduate) at Regis.