There is something about working with others who have the same passion, interests, and energy that you do which can be absolutely uplifting. There is also something that takes place within a true partnership, where each person or group is both giving and receiving, that really empowers you to believe that, together, you can accomplish great things. At The Ohio State University College of Nursing we have many opportunities for students to engage with global partners and share an uplifting in-country experience. Our faculty have described the inspiring capabilities of these unique educational offerings below.
When Dr. Lucia Jenusky considers her study abroad work in Honduras, she reflects from two perspectives. “What do our students get out of this experience and what are we doing while in-country for such a short term that can truly transform health care in Honduras and impact the health and well-being of Hondurans? When students have the opportunity to study abroad, they have different travel experience histories, different cultural backgrounds and different reasons for wanting the study abroad experience. As I look at course objectives and student expectations pre- and post-trip, I see the transformation of the students. Even though this trip is short, students can get a great understanding of another culture’s religion, education and healthcare systems, language, food, etc. This trip also introduces students to the impact of NGOs on a country’s education and healthcare. We were very fortunate to be able to ‘pay it forward’ in that we educated future Honduran nurses within the first-ever nursing high school in Honduras. Ohio State University students are part of history in Honduras. We educated the first graduating class of the first nursing high school in Honduras.”
In partnership with The Center for Development in Central America (CDCA), a project of the Jubilee House Community, Inc. (JHC) that has non-profit organization status in the U.S. and “International Mission” status in Nicaragua, Dr. Elizabeth Fitzgerald has led undergraduate and graduate students in a unique service-learning opportunity for many years. As she describes, “Our partnership with CDCA/JHC enables the people they serve to find their own solutions to the problems they identify and connects them with resources to solve their problems. I have found joy through my service experiences and built personal relationships based on trust. The Nicaraguan people are warm, generous, friendly and very proud of their cultural heritage.” Students leave this experience with new insights as they combine a pragmatic educational experience with community service that meets the needs of the people in this Central American country.
Faculty lead Dr. Penny Marzalik writes about an education abroad experience for graduate midwifery students that has been underway on the Isle of Jersey, a small British Crown Dependency Channel isle off the coast of France. “We partnered with the University of Chester in Chester, England for an annual student exchange program. With diligent work and countless Skype sessions in between, last year we welcomed our first two Chester midwives from the Isle of Jersey to Columbus, thus strengthening a collaboration between Chester and Jersey aimed to address the concerning shortage of midwifery staff on the isle. This year, we excitedly await the journey of two of our own Buckeyes. They will travel to the British Isles to gain experiences in midwifery care with the wonderful people of Jersey, continuing during their stay to strengthen our bonds with the University of Chester on this important initiative.” This experience is a great example of reciprocal educational partnerships.
This year, our newest global offering is a partnership with Lovisenberg Diakonale University College in Oslo, Norway. We are so looking forward to this opportunity where graduate entry master’s students, who already possess a bachelor’s degree in another field, will partner with Norwegian nursing students to complete required community health clinical hours. Working together in pairs and teams, these students will address the health care needs of disenfranchised and vulnerable populations including the homebound, refugees and the elderly. The ability to compare and contrast healthcare, educational, and social systems across these two nations in “real-time” will be truly transformative. During this experience we will also provide a “virtual global classroom experience” for those students still stateside. Working together, these students will share learning and life experiences while enjoying all that Oslo as a capital city provides.
No matter the setting here or abroad, students can gain so much from an actual or virtual global experience. Such opportunities provide chances to improve your language skills, travel, imbed in a different culture, see educational and healthcare systems from a different lens, find new interests, and make new friends and connections. Ultimately, for you and the people you meet, work with, and study with, the positive outcomes of becoming a citizen of the world start with these transformational partnerships. #OSUGlobalTransformation
Dianne Morrsion-Beedy serves as the Chief Talent & Global Strategy Officer and the Centennial Professor for The Ohio State University College of Nursing.