Green graudate Becky Ciocca is no stranger to the spotlight. She's performed with Theatre 8:15, with the University of Akron dance team and as a member the Cleveland Cavaliers cheerleading squad.
A member of the honors program of the UA Nursing School, Ciocca was selected to go to China for two weeks to represent the program. She, along with four other students and an instructor, took part in a research study on patient safety and advocacy.
"My trip to China was the most exciting and interesting thing I have ever done," Ciocca said. "I just loved the trip and definitely want to go back someday."
To be selected for this trip, Ciocca had to have high grades in her course work. She then submitted an application that included a written essay and interviewed for the opportunity.
"I wasn't sure if I would make the cut," Ciocca said. "I had been in the honors program since I was a freshman. But I was still nervous and not sure if I would be selected."
Ciocca's group arrived in Beijing, then drove by car to a town named Zheng Zhou, located in Kaifeng Province. While there, the group stayed at Henan University.
"Zheng Zhou is similar in size to the Akron-Canton area," Ciocca said. "The people rarely get to see foreigners, especially Americans, and they treated us wonderfully. They were the nicest people I have ever met; They bent over backwards to make us feel welcome."
Each day, Ciocca and her group visit an assigned hospital. There, they broke into small groups and visited patients as they were being treated. The students did not involve themselves in nursing-related activities. Instead, they observed how the patients were treated by the attending doctors and nurses.
"We observed the health care interaction between the staff and the patients," Ciocca said. "They really are concerned about their patients and while they might not have the facilities that we have back here, they really care about their patients and how they are treated. We were really given lots of freedom to chat with patients and the staff to see how the patients were treated."
Normally, the group would take a break for lunch, then conduct more interviews before returning home for dinner.
Dining in China was far different from what Ciocca imagined.
"They don't really have Chinese food as we think of Chinese food," Ciocca said. "They eat a lot of rice and vegetables. … There wasn't a lot of meat (on their) menus, but there were some other interesting items. These included roots like bamboo and silk worms, which I never ate, as far as I know. There was also Shark Fin soup, cow intestines and a sweet soup that I really liked, but have no idea what was in it."
Page 2 of 2 - During the two weeks, Ciocca got to see some of the countryside, but didn't have time for sight-seeing. She did, however, gain insight into Chinese culture.
"They really respect their elderly people," Ciocca said. "They try to preserve their culture and respect history. Their architecture, both old and new, is very detailed and has intricate designs."