Name: Maria Krantz
Type of Project: Study Abroad
My STEP Signature Project, Public Health Perspectives: Finland and Estonia program, sponsored by the College of Public Health and College of International Affairs at The Ohio State University. The four-week program will include two weeks of coursework on The Ohio State University campus, as well as two weeks studying in five different cities in Finland and Estonia. This program will enhance my education at Ohio State through learning Public Health, cultural, and social lenses.
The Public Health Perspectives: Finland and Estonia program was transformative and helped me to better understand myself as well as my view of the world. Through this program, I was able to travel to Europe for the first time, which opened my eyes to new cultures and people. Additionally, though this project, I was able to challenge myself through pushing my personal boundaries and exiting my comfort zone. I also met incredible people through this program and my view of the world widened as a result. I was inspired through this program to continue to challenge myself outside of the classroom and to continue to learn through international travel and study.
My interest in Public Health and Medicine also increased as a result of this project. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a physician and this program convinced me even further that this is the career that I am suited for. Through learning about the impact of culture and history on population health, as well as learning more about international research, I was inspired. I am excited to apply the knowledge and perspective that I gained from this program to my future medical training, as well as my current Public Health education.
The study abroad program, Public Health Perspectives in Finland and Estonia has helped me to apply what I have learned through my education at Ohio State. This STEP Signature Project has allowed my career goals to become more attainable. I would be able to reach my full academic potential, as every decision that I have made, I have kept my goals of pursuing a career as a physician and a Public Health Professional.
During my STEP signature project, I was able to identify political, cultural, behavioral, and socioeconomic factors related to global public health issues, which is also a core competency of my Public Health education. Through this program, I learned about the history of Estonia – the impact of the Soviet Union, the KGB, as well as the great strides made to improve overall health and education of the country. Through visiting the US Embassy in Tallinn, Estonia, I learned how Estonia has a leading education system and is a leader in technology production and technology education. This was particularly striking to me as I am very interested in STEM and educational outreach. Seeing how a country challenged by years of war and struggle was able to become a global leader in technology, healthcare, and education was astounding to me.
Also in alignment with my Public Health degree, I was able to observe and discuss various approaches/strategies for identification, response and intervention to address and attempt to resolve common public health issue. While in Helsinki, Finland, I attended lectures at Finland’s National Institute of Health and Welfare. Through these lectures, I learned about the healthcare system in Finland, current and past Public Health research conducted in Finland, as well as more about the overall health of the country and health challenges that they face. Through this, I was able to learn how data is collected, analyzed, and implemented in Finland. This was so impactful for me, as I was able to better understand the differences in our healthcare systems, as well as Public Health research – a field that I am very interested in.
Additionally, this project was transformative in a personal sense as well. Just before this trip, as well as during, I was recovering from a severe concussion/Traumatic Brain Injury. This program allowed me to begin to regain confidence in my abilities. Until just before the program began, I was concerned that I would not be able to take part in this Study Abroad program due to my injury and recovery, however, I was able to attend. This allowed me to appreciate the program even more, as I valued all of the time that I spent preparing and on the trip. I am very grateful for the opportunity to complete this program and to Study Abroad through STEP.
This program helped me tremendously through Public Health professional development and by deepening my understating of international healthcare, which will be transformative as a prepare for a career in medicine and Public Health. By increasing my understanding of international medicine and health determinants, I am sure that this experience will help me in my future profession. Through traveling to the countries of Finland and Estonia, I was able to focus on my passion for healthcare and medicine. I want to be able to use the knowledge I gain to give back and care for my patients in the most positive way possible.
In addition to helping me reach my professional goals, but was also able to inspire my personal and social goals. I have a passion for learning about new cultures and languages and this program has allowed me to emerge myself into to new and unique cultures will distinct histories. I also had the opportunity to work with 14 other students who have the same interest as I do. I was able to forge new friendships with the members of my program, as well as people that I meet while abroad. I will be able to interact with residents of the five different cities of Finland and Estonia.