UMR Students use Winter Break as Opportunity to Travel and Learn

Authored By: wells438 03/06/2024

Group of students smiling together

During the semester break in January 2024, students from the University of Minnesota Rochester traveled to Mysore, India to learn and study abroad through the Health and Medicine in India – Social and Cultural Context course offered by the University of Minnesota Pre-Health Student Resource Center. This unique experience included a two week trip abroad and a seven week post-abroad course focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030, and cultural viewpoints of health, wellness and health care.

While in India, students toured health care facilities including Mysore Medical College and Hospital where they were able to meet and learn from local health care professionals with a variety of expertise. They also visited schools within the Swami Vivekandanda Youth Movement project, several temples and a couple tourist spots. Each of these experiences contributed to the student’s developing a better understanding of policy and structure in India as well as allowing them to experience the local culture of Mysore. 

“Experiencing and participating in other cultures is an incredible way to expand your horizons, and to enjoy life in a whole new way you would have never thought possible,” shared Jake Atencio, current UMR student and aspiring global public health professional.

“I chose to study abroad as I have always had a passion for traveling as well as medicine. It has always been a goal of mine to travel internationally to see what medicine and health care systems look like elsewhere,” shared Vaida Goplin, current UMR student and aspiring physician assistant. “I now know what health care can look like for others which will help me understand and provide better care to my future patients.”

Upon return, students have continued to meet for a seven week seminar focused on health in both India and the United States. This seminar provides additional opportunities for self reflection on their experience and how it will impact their future career goals. 

“This experience and continued experiences like this will inform my understanding on international policy development, and it will give me a better insight into the perspectives, opinions, thoughts and views that shape a much larger happening/context within the world; informing my abilities as an international public health leader, advocate and fellow member of humanity,” shared Atencio. 

University of Minnesota Rochester offers a variety of learning abroad opportunities for students supported through the University’s Learning Abroad Center. Like the Health and Medicine in India course, there are a variety of short-term and break programs that fit health sciences students’ schedules and budgets. Students are encouraged to connect with their student success coach before beginning program research to understand how courses and experiences best integrate into their major and career path.