During a ten-day Immersion trip to Italy, USAHS students experienced Italian culture and learned about the workings of the Italian healthcare system and Italian disaster relief efforts. They visited Rome, Pompeii, the Ilse of Capri, the Amalfi Coast and the Republic of San Marino.
“We saw some of the most beautiful scenery in the world,” nursing student Richard Dempsey said. “The amazing Amalfi coastline, the most beautiful blue water surrounding the Island of Capri, houses built on the sides of mountains with vineyards and olive orchards covering the landscapes.”
The Italy Immersion trip gives students the full experience in a foreign country personally and professionally. Students get to see the most-visited spots in Italy, make their own pasta, shop local vendors and attend conferences at local universities.
The trip took Italy’s rich history to new heights for students as they visited the oldest medical school in the world, the University of Salero, an ancient pharmacy, and a medical museum.
Students said they were in awe of the beauty that surrounded them during the trip and the intense learning opportunity that opened their eyes to global health care. Their focus was to compare the differences between the Italian and U.S. healthcare systems, then formulate strategies to improve their own healthcare provisions.
In exploring both the local culture and professional medical expertise of the area, students get to examine the Italian healthcare system from a patient to healthcare provider perspective.
“By talking with the experts, you get a better idea of how the community feels about their healthcare system and where social injustices and inequalities exist,” Post-Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy student Jillian Woods said. “This allows us, as students, to formulate ideas and plans to eradicate these inequalities and injustices in hopes of making positive changes in the future of healthcare.”
Learning from local professionals alongside other students develops a connection between classmates and faculty that lasts after the trip. Participating students come from various healthcare professions and encourage each other to broaden skills and look at healthcare issues from various points of view.
“I went to a foreign country with a group of people I only knew from an online course,” Woods said. “I was placed in a group and had to learn about each person, their personalities, and work habits to complete an assignment based on what we saw in Italy.”
MHS student Matthew Blimline said he left for Italy alone, but returned with 29 new friends. Blimline is an Athletic Trainer and got to speak with the former president of the Therapy and Sports Medicine Association about the role of sports medicine on international levels.
These personal and professional bonds, and new knowledge motivate students beyond the classroom and can be beneficial for the future of U.S. healthcare.
“The trip allows one to become culturally immersed and value diversity,” EdD student Tracy Nornhold said.
Students agree that the experience opened their eyes to what healthcare looks like in other countries and where there is room for improvement in the U.S. healthcare system. They also now bring a new perspective to the way they approach clients and cases with this added knowledge from overseas.
Students receive three credit hours toward a designated course upon successful completion of the trip and required course work. The next Italy Immersion trip is scheduled for March 7 – March 16, 2020 and all post-professional students and USAHS alumni are eligible to participate. Find more information here and contact Dr. Stefanie Podlog at [email protected] to learn more.
“This trip is a trip of a life time” Dempsey said.