Herberth Balsells, '06
Herberth graduated in 2006 with a degree in biology and minors in chemistry and Italian studies. While at Richmond, Herberth was a resident assistant, Spanish medical terminology instructor, Italian teaching assistant, and summer research assistant. He was a Priscilla Poteat Humbert award recipient, Golden Key and phi beta delta member, and participated in the host family program.
Herberth studied abroad in Ferarra, Italy and, as a Bonner Scholar, returned to Guatemala on two separate occasions to work in an orphanage for handicapped children—an experience, he says, allowed him to see an area of his own country that he hadn't seen before.
After graduating from Richmond, Herberth studied medicine at Des Moines University in Iowa and graduated in 2010. He is now an emergency medicine and internal medicine resident in New York.
The international education I received at UR has opened many doors in my career. After taking only two semesters of Italian at UR with Professor Marcin, I was able to have a fluent conversation. One night while volunteering as an EMT, my crew responded to a 911 call to assist an elderly lady. When we arrived to the scene, the firemen, who had arrived before my crew, said that no one could understand what the patient was saying. To my surprise the patient was speaking Italian. Thanks to the basic Italian that I had learned I was able to assist the patient during transport to the nearby hospital. This experience increased my interest for the language and then I decided to study abroad. I went to Ferrara, a small Italian city surrounded by medieval walls where hardly anyone speaks English. Being immersed in the Italian culture for four months improved my language skills enormously. This program also allowed me to travel to many historic cities that otherwise I would have never visited.
Now that I am starting my third year of medical education I have found the opportunity to return to Italy to do a 2 month rotation at a hospital in Trieste. One of the requirements to participate in this program was to be fluent in Italian and it was thanks to the education in the Italian department and the opportunities provided by the international office at UR that I am able to do this.
While at UR I always felt welcome at the International Office. Their staff was helpful, opened to questions and suggestions and more importantly they wanted to make my time in the US and abroad a lifelong learning experience.