Experiencing Medicine Abroad

Authored By: wells438 08/04/2023

Group photo of Tenzin and Doctors from clinic


Tenzin Sopa wanted to learn more about her culture’s history and traditions while also deepening her passion for medicine. While enrolled in a course through the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Tibetan Medicine: Ethics, Spirituality and Healing, Tenzin learned of the opportunity to travel to and immerse herself in Tibetan Medicine and jumped at the chance to study in Dharamsala, India in May 2023, during her fourth year at the University of Minnesota Rochester.


“As a Tibetan on track to attend medical school and become a physician in the United States, I believe that studying different perspectives of medicine, especially in underserved populations, can not only help future patients but also help me become a well rounded physician,” Tenzin shared.


Group photo of Tenzin and Doctors from clinicIn Dharamsala, a location where mostly Tibetans reside in exile in India, Tenzin studied Tibetan Medicine at Men-Tsee-Khang Tibetan Medical and Astro-Science Institute. Tibetan medicine is a holistic approach in medicine that heals the body physically, mentally and spiritually. She met many different doctors and teachers that helped her understand Tibetan Medicine better. She also received the opportunity to present what she learned in front of the Institute. 


Additional opportunities that arose while abroad included the honor of meeting and being blessed by the Dalai Lama in his residence temple in Dharamsala. The Dalai Lama is a respected spiritual leader in the Tibetan community. During this experience, Tenzin and fellow students also got to meet and converse with the personal physician to the Dalai Lama and tour Delek hospital, founded by members of the Tibetan Diaspora. 


“Learning from [my] roots has truly helped me learn more about my culture and traditions. Going on in life, I will continue to practice what I learned and hope to help expand our Tibetan traditions everywhere. As a future physician, I believe that learning about Tibetan medicine and the health care environment in India has helped me find genuine compassion and motivation to help others that aren't as fortunate with their health.”


University of Minnesota Rochester offers a variety of learning abroad opportunities for students. Students are encouraged to connect with their Student Success Coach before beginning program research to ensure courses and experiences integrate well into their major and career path.