Senior nutrition and dietics major Katie Hamelin poses in scrubs next to the sign for International Medical Aid, where she took part in a rare nutrition-focused internship in Kenya.
Katie Hamelin, a senior nutrition and dietetics major at the University of Delaware, got exposed to healthcare in Kenya this summer through International Medical Aid's independent study abroad program.

Practicing nutrition abroad

November 13, 2023 Written by Amy Cherry | Photo submitted by Katie Hamelin

Nutrition and dietetics student travels to Kenya for rare abroad nutrition-focused internship

Katie Hamelin was bitten by the travel bug at an early age. Her parents got engaged on the second level of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. As a teen, they took her to the famous site she had always seen in photos.

From that moment on, Hamelin knew she wasn’t bound to stay in one place. In high school, she participated in a Northern Ireland exchange program.

Hamelin, who grew up in Newark, chose the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences because it was “in her backyard” and because of the wealth of opportunities to get beyond campus and see the world through study abroad. She enrolled in the World Scholars Program and spent her first semester as a college student in Auckland, New Zealand. When COVID-19 hit, her travels were halted, and she spent more time at home than ever imagined. In the fall semester of junior year, she traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, through World Scholars and embarked on a Winter Session study abroad in South Africa with beloved health behavior and nutrition sciences professor Steve Goodwin, who’s now semi-retired. 

“I knew I had to get back to Africa,” Hamelin said.

Hamelin, like any other true wanderlust, can’t stay motivated without a trip on the calendar. Immediately upon her return from South Africa, the now senior, majoring in nutrition and dietetics, began researching her next adventure. She connected with International Medical Aid, which offered nutritionist internships in Kenya.

“As soon as I saw that, I was in,” she said. “You just don’t find nutrition/dietetics pathways abroad very often.” 

This past summer, Hamelin set out for Kenya for a month, where she shadowed dietitians at Coast General Teaching Hospital in various wards, including pediatrics, intensive care, oncology and surgical, giving her a first glimpse into nutrition in a clinical setting. She spent most of her time in pediatrics, where she observed several cases of malnutrition.

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