Erin Stratta ’05

Erin Stratta ’05

Class of 2012 at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine

Peru 2005–07

After only a few weeks, the ice cold showers, the adobe room, a foreign language, the barking dogs, screeching roosters, and crying babies became my new normal. More trying was accepting culturally ingrained lifestyles that seemed damaging. I refuse to condone domestic violence, and yet I had to find ways to continue looking wife abusers in the eyes every day without hatred or fear. I never accepted the machismo of my host culture, but I learned to work within a system where it rules. I also quickly realized that the children there would save me—that working with them would always bring me joy.

Coming home is the hardest part. You have this entire other life that happens, that is full of people you care for, and yet you must go back home and spend the rest of your days trying to wed these two incredibly different worlds.

During college, I took to heart a quote by Pedro Arrupe, S.J.: “Fall in love, and it will decide everything.” If I hadn’t gone to Santa Clara, I’m certain I never would have thought about service abroad. My two years in the Peace Corps were an absolutely direct consequence of my immersion trip to El Salvador. Working in public health for two years gave me practical experience and solidified my desire to pursue a career in medicine.

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