University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Senior Raychel Wertz Travels to Study in the Himalayan Mountains

Senior Raychel Wertz travels abroad to the Himalayan Mountains of India where she learned valuable lessons about herself and her future occupation as a nurse.

She will graduate a semester early from her experience studying abroad.  

Wertz was astonished when she realized her dream became reality when she had the opportunity to travel abroad to somewhere she’s always wanted to go, the Himalayan Mountains. After applying for the Vira Heinz Scholarship for Women in Global Leadership, Wertz was one of three lucky women to receive the scholarship. She immersed herself in a different culture while learning coursework she could apply for her studies in Johnstown.  
“I hiked up a mountain and camped in a tent in the Himalayan Mountains, ran away from monkeys larger than fifth graders, and went to the Agra Fort and Taj Mahal,” Wertz said. “I remember visiting a Buddhist monastery, helping over eighty villagers’ checkups and medicine, shopping in Delhi on a 120-degree day, and had lunch with Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and other Pitt staff members.” As a student, this was an incredible experience she’ll never forget.
While enjoying the beautiful scenery, she took a course in anthropology and first responders. She stayed around the mountains to learn about the socioeconomic and infrastructure issues in the community. The second course focused on first responders, teaching her useful skills such as how to survive and care for patients with limited access in the wilderness.
Due to this study abroad experience, Wertz will graduate a semester early with her degree in nursing thanks to the extra credits received during her stay. “I loved the Wilderness First Responders course because of my background as a nursing student and the real-world application of what I had already learned in class at UPJ,” Wertz said. “I also loved seeing the mix of Western and Indian culture in town.”