StudentJan 3, 2019Campus News
By: Elizabeth Steele

Study Abroad Slovakia By Elizabeth Steele G'19

MHA student Elizabeth Steele G’19 took the fall semester Global Health Management course’s trip to Slovakia. We asked her to answer a few questions about her trip.
Elizabeth Steele in Amsterdam before a canal cruise tour.
Elizabeth Steele in Amsterdam before a canal cruise tour.

MHA student Elizabeth Steele G’19 took the fall semester Global Health Management course’s trip to Slovakia. We asked her to answer a few questions about her trip.

What course did you take?

This course was HAD 596 European Health Systems. Our main location was the Slovak Republic but we also traveled to Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Hungry.

Tell us what your experience was like studying abroad.

Hearing my peers talk about the amazing sights, people, and experiences of traveling abroad is what initially piqued my interest in exploring the study abroad opportunities available through the MHA program. After talking with my program director about the different study abroad trips, I was given a choice between traveling to Brazil or the Slovak Republic. Although a difficult decision, I chose the Slovak Republic for two main reasons. The first was that we were going to travel to five different countries during our short 10-day trip and the second was due to my interest in the mental health programs in Europe. During this study abroad course we were required to do research on a topic of our choosing. Since mental health is an interest of mine, I was excited to do some research on their citizens access and ways to improve the growing need for mental health services globally and in Central and Eastern Europe.

Although this trip had many highlights, some of my favorite parts were the hospital tours. While we were in the Slovak Republic, we were able to tour two different hospitals. During the second tour, two nurses took us into the OR where we were able to observe a knee surgery as well as see the pre and post operation areas for their patients. Being in administration, we do not observe surgeries very often, so it was intriguing to watch.

Reflecting back on my experience, I can honestly say that I learned a lot from my time abroad. Not only were we briefly introduced to the culture of five different countries, but we were also exposed to random and interesting facts about each country’s history. In Amsterdam, we heard about the history of architecture, while in Austria, we learned of the monuments and castle structures.

This trip also changed how I viewed health care in other countries and even how I view our own system here in America. Although there are pros and cons to each country’s way of practicing medicine, it was interesting to see some vast differences in care. As a future administrator, it is important to observe other countries and bring home ways to improve our own delivery of care. Continuing education is a vital part of a health care administrators’ duty and will continue to help my future organization grow and succeed with the changing demographics, technology, etc. Overall, I would highly suggest every student to study abroad regardless of the duration or location of the trip.

What advice would you give to college students interested in studying abroad?

Do it. I was fortunate enough to study abroad during my undergraduate studies as well and I highly recommend it. This trip was different since it was only 10 days and I was presenting research, but it was still an unforgettable and informative experience. Regardless of where you go traveling, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to learn.

Why do you think it's important to have a "global" experience in grad school?

To truly understand another person’s beliefs, views, culture etc., I believe you need to be immersed in their culture and their way of life. Doing a study abroad trip, whether it is 5 months or 10 days, helps students to understand the differences that, in turn, unite us all.

  • alt placeholderThe class in the OR of the Nové Zámky hospital in Nové Zámky, Slovakia.
  • alt placeholderThe class outside the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.
  • alt placeholderThe historic Astronomical Clock in Prague, Czech Republic.
  • alt placeholderElizabeth Steele in the streets of Prague.
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