By Miranda Kulp, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - While some of us were busy working on tans and enjoying the break from school this summer, Penn State men's soccer veteran Christian Kaschak was busy assisting in surgeries in Vietnam.
Kaschak, an aspiring surgeon, spent three weeks working with the Vietnam Medicine 17 Project where he not only observed but was able to scrub in for various surgeries.
"Initially my cousin started what's called the Vietnam Medicine Project 17 years ago and he invited me to come along since he knew I was interested in a career in medicine after college," stated Kaschak. "So, I decided this was something I wanted to do and went out to Vietnam and had a great experience."
Kaschak, who is a current kinesiology major, explains how this trip confirmed his desires to pursue a career in medicine after graduating from Penn State.
"I would love to continue the same type of work after college, it would mean so much if I could combine my medicine career with helping others in Vietnam or anywhere needed like my cousin does," said Kaschak.
Despite his 15 plus hour plane ride for the trip, Kaschak said it was the trip of a lifetime.
Although he did get to explore the land while on his trip, most of his time was spent in a Vietnam hospital.
"The hospitals over there are a complete 180-turn from how they are organized here," said Kaschak. "I was able to scrub in on a few surgeries where here in America I would only be able to observe, so it really was a great way to get hands on experience. I was really able to see medicine in a different way than I would have in the United States."
During his trip Kaschak learned a lot about the culture and gained valuable medicine experience, however he holds one lesson especially close.
"The biggest thing I learned over there was that everyone you interact with can teach you something new," stated Kaschak. "I went into it only expecting to learn from the fellow surgeons but was impressed with how everyone I met over there had something to teach me."
Although Kaschak loved everything he was able to learn during his trip, he claims the best reward of his experience was being able to give back.
"I always try and find ways I can give back to the community," said Kaschak. "I don't simply do things for my resume or things that I think will make me look good, I do things to give back and get involved in organizations I believe in."
Besides being a scholar athlete, Kaschak is also involved in the Athletic Leadership Institute, is a representative of the Student Advisory Board, was a member of a Dancer Relations committee for THON, and even danced in THON two years ago.
"I think you can see his willingness to help others not only on the field, but more importantly in his life outside of soccer," said Head Coach Bob Warming. "Christian is an amazing kid and you see that in every aspect of his life. He's a great example of the type of kids we want in our program, not only dedicated to the sport, but dedicated to being a good person."
Now that Kaschak is back to focusing on soccer, he's already clocked 135 minutes and has two shots for the Nittany Lions this season.