Quite a few aspects from Wilderness First Aid training are transferable to the theory and application of leadership. Perhaps some of the most obvious of these are the concepts of self-leadership and self-awareness. As a Wilderness First Aid caregiver, one needs to be incredibly self-aware in that they have a comprehensive understanding of their own ability to respond in an emergency situation. To avoid causing further harm to the patient, the caregiver must never attempt to provide medical assistance that is above their licensure or even merely out of their comfort zone. It is important that a first responder be confident in their actions in high-stress situations, and as such a strong sense of self-awareness is necessary to achieve a certain level of confidence. A leader of an organization in any context must also have a solid understanding of their own talents. This is especially important when leaders begin to assemble their teams. As we have observed repeatedly with examples discussed in class, the most effective teams are the ones in which the group members are talented in areas that are unique from the other group members’ skills. A self-aware leader will select members of their team that possess the qualities they might be lacking to create a well-rounded organization.
Yet another ability that applies both to Wilderness First Aid and the theory of leadership is the capacity to accept accountability. While administering first aid, the caregiver should possess a conviction to do what is right by the patient within their range of abilities. It is a Wilderness First Aid certified individual’s responsibility to apply their knowledge to help others. Similarly, the leader of an organization should be accountable for the repercussions of their actions. A leader should not expect to maintain their team’s trust if they do something unethical and must accept the consequences associated with their behavior. Hence, accountability is a common thread that runs through both Wilderness First Aid and the theory and implementation of leadership.
At this stage in my study abroad experience, I feel as though I have not encountered significant cultural differences that have been difficult to manage. Up until this point, most of my time here in India has been spent with my American peers and instructors who have a keen awareness of American culture. With that being said, there have been some cultural differences I have noticed, even if they have not been an obstacle to me in a serious way. The first of these is the chaotic driving in India. Drivers are constantly swerving, aggressively beeping their horns, and seem to lack any sort of regulation as it appears to the outsider. Learning how to walk safely along the tight, winding mountain streets has been one minor adjustment I have made in response to the differing culture here in India.
Another surprising cultural difference has been the frequency of stray dogs. In American suburbs like where I am from, it is extremely rare to find dogs wandering alone through the streets because they are so highly valued in American culture as pets. Here in India, it is difficult to walk outside without seeing homeless dogs.