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Biology: Study Abroad Opportunities

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Are there study abroad opportunities that pre-health students can take advantage of while at Wittenberg?

Wittenberg has connections with programs around the world that provide opportunities for our students to understand and appreciate new cultures, live in places with vastly different standards of living, and gain a broader appreciation for the global medical needs. Pre-Health students have lived and studied in such places as the Bahamas, Chile, China, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Lesotho, and South Africa during their college career to name just a few opportunities. Some international programs are targeted specifically toward pre-health students. One program with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark specializes in Medical Practice and Policy and states as one of its goals to "give students a competitive edge when applying to medical schools." Health professional schools like to see you gain this type of global understanding and appreciate the intellectual and emotional growth that comes with such an enriching international experience.

Are there study abroad opportunities that are focused specifically on the pre-health student?

Yes. Some international programs are targeted specifically toward pre-health students. A program with the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) specializes in Medical Practice and Policy and states as one of its goals to "give students a competitive edge when applying to medical school". One required course is Human Health and Disease, and is taught from a clinical perspective in a hospital setting. While a variety of courses are offered in the program, the other one of special interest is Health Care in Scandinavia, in which students explore the positives and negatives of socialized medicine. Students returning from this program report spending approximately 60 hours in a clinical setting learning to take patient histories, practicing medical procedures on computerized dummies, and shadowing physicians in a variety of medical specialties. This program will give you an insight into clinical experiences you will likely have in your first year of medical school and is offered both in the summer and during the academic year.

Another program targeted at pre-health students is the Public Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine Program (Kunming, China) which is run in conjunction with the Yunnan Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In this 6-week summer course, students have an opportunity to study the traditions of Eastern medicine while working with healthcare professionals in both urban and rural China. While the courses are taught in English, students participating in this program will also study Chinese culture and Mandarin language.

In July 2007, a program in Health Sciences (Santiago, Chile) will commence that is specifically designed for pre-health students. Unlike the first two programs, all courses are taught in Spanish and the program has a pre-requisite of four semesters of college Spanish or the equivalent. This program, coordinated through IES, involves up to four courses specifically designed for pre-health students: Spanish Language for Medical Purposes, Anthropology and Native Medicine, Current Bioethical Concerns: A Cross-Cultural Comparison, and Clinical Internship. Alternately, students can select 1-3 of these courses and fill out the rest of their schedule with courses from the Universidad de Chile and Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile.

Are there other good study abroad opportunities?

There are many other opportunities for pre-health students to study abroad while at Wittenberg. These programs do not specifically target the pre-health student, but still provide great exposure to different people and cultures. These experiences are valuable for a student interested in interacting with a variety of people in their professional lives. For more information about study abroad opportunities, please visit the website of the Office of International Education.

When is the best time in my college career to study abroad and still fit in the prerequisite courses for my target health professional schools?

In general, it is best for most pre-health students to go abroad before their senior year. During the senior year, students are typically applying to their target health professional schools, and want to be available for interviews upon request. For that reason, it is difficult to travel abroad in the senior year. Please alert the Pre-Health advisor of your intentions to study abroad as early in your academic career as possible, as it may require some rearrangement of prerequisite courses that you need to take before the MCAT (medical), DAT (dental), OAT (optometry), or PCAT (pharmacy).

What courses should I consider taking while studying abroad?

You can take a wide variety of courses abroad that will transfer back to fulfill requirements for your major or the general education program. You should strongly consider courses that cannot be taken at Wittenberg as they provide opportunities to learn about the people, culture, music, history, etc. of the country that you are visiting. You should NOT take courses that are prerequisites for your target health professional schools while abroad (i.e. equivalents of Physics 200, 205 or 218, Chemistry 201, 271, or 302). The health professional schools typically accept credits only from four year institutions in the United States, and will not accept credits from international programs even though the courses may be rigorous and are listed as transfer credits on your Wittenberg transcript.

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