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#MyMessage — Michele Lopez

Meet Michele Lopez, a counseling and counselor doctorate student from Venezuela.

Michele Lopez came to the United States in search of stability and a better life. Even though she loved her family dearly, she said Venezuela was too full of uncertainties. The decision to leave her home country became final after a personal experience with Venezuela’s health care industry.

Lopez and her boyfriend had just bought an apartment and were looking to save some money by remodeling it themselves, she said. But she was injured in the process.

Check out #MyMessage for more stories about SU international students.

After attempting to break off part of the plaster on the wall, Lopez fell, and part of the wall fell on her arm. In extreme pain, she rushed to the public hospital where she was interning. But surgery would have to be delayed a few days until the surgeon arrived at the hospital. Those few days would turn into three weeks.

Eventually, the family gathered enough resources to have her transferred to a clinic, where she had immediate treatment and surgery. But the damage had been done, she said. Lopez now had limited mobility in her arm and a psyche that could never fully recover from the experience. Because of the delay in getting her arm surgically repaired, the bones healed in a way that gave Lopez permanent limited mobility in the arm.

Lopez and her boyfriend married a couple of years after the arm incident. They moved to America in 2009 so Michele could pursue a career in mental health studies where she is now in her first semester at Syracuse University, looking to get her doctorate in counseling and counselor education. Her experiences with health care in America have been quite good, she said, partly because of hindsight from her previous experience.   

“I have insurance now,” Lopez said. “I think it’s for the best.” 

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