Baker’s Dozen Abroad Corner: Ali Altman

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Ani Arzoumanian, Maroon-News Staff

Junior Ali Altman is currently abroad on a multi-country program with the School for International Training (SIT) called the International Honors Program. Altman is studying health and community in Washington, D.C., India, South Africa and Brazil. The group is currently finishing up their studies in New Delhi, India, and is now departing for Cape Town, South Africa.

“I was really drawn to this program mostly due to my interests in public health, but also the opportunity to immerse myself in three completely different cultural contexts through homestays and an experiential approach to learning,” she said.

Altman said that her favorite part about the program has been getting to know the local cultures through everyday conversations with locals. Among her favorite activities are spending time with her host family, talking to healthcare professionals during site visits to hospitals and non-governmental organizations, listening to activists that come as speakers to her classroom and just having casual conversations with people on the metro.

“In my opinion, I have the rest of my life to be a tourist in Europe, but when else am I going to have the opportunity to study in four continents in one semester?” Altman said.

At Colgate, Altman is an ambassador for the Shaw Wellness Institute and a Bystander Intern and a leader working for sexual assault issues on campus. In her hometown of Denver, Colo., she spent her summer canvassing for a grassroots campaign working to address health issues related to plastic pollution in Colorado. This summer, Altman will be starting an internship with a healthcare startup.

“I am still growing my public health resume, but I am very interested in pursuing a career in public and global health, specifically with a concentration in women and reproductive justice,” she said.

Altman is a biology and women’s studies double concentrator. As part of her program abroad, she is conducting a comparative case study on child and maternal health. In this way, her study abroad program relates specifically to her academic interests.

One of the most interesting things Altman says she has done in her program was meet with the Child Parliament in a tribal village in India in the forests near the border of Nepal. The Child Parliament is a group of 20-25 children, mostly girls, all under the age of 18, elected in the community to serve as advocates in a sect of their local government.

“The Prime Minister of the Parliament was a 17-year-old girl named Lakshmi, who was telling us about all the amazing changes they’ve been able to implement in their village… everything from bringing electricity in homes so kids can study at night to renovating the primary school. It was so inspiring to hear them speak about what they do and fun getting to know them through games and learning some Hindi,” Altman explained.

After college, Altman is interested in pursuing a dual Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health degree program, which will equip her with the skills and clinical experience necessary to make a difference in the field of women’s health on both a global and local scale. Before, however, Altman wants to take some time to explore the world and participate in reproductive justice outreach.

Altman is also involved in Outdoor Education, Shock Dance Group, the Office of Admission and her sorority Gamma Phi Beta. She is the elected Sexual Assault Prevention and Support (SAPAS) Chairwoman for the Panhellenic Council.