Exchanges of medical students and the true understanding of global health issues

iris-blom

Mrs Iris Blom is the National Exchange Officer General at IFMSA Netherlands (IFMSA, 2016)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Iris Blom. The writer is a third year medical student at the University of Amsterdam.  Mrs Blom is the National Exchange Officer General 2016-2017 of IFMSA-NL. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA).

Medical Student on his Professional Exchange in Kenya: 

“I think everyone in the medical field should have an experience like this. I truly feel like I learned a lot about global health issues and learned to acknowledge the difference in culture which can affect these issues. I feel like I can be a better doctor because of this exchange and that I am better at handling patients with a different cultural background.” 

This quote is just one example of the many lauding comments we continue to receive from our exchange students after they return from their exchange in a foreign country. It illustrates what students can take back from an exchange, and it also describes the goals that we are aiming for by organizing these exchanges.

With ‘we’ I mean the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA). IFMSA aims to improve global health world-wide. To do this, medical students from over 120 countries organize projects concerning different fields of health care. Professional and research exchanges are one of the biggest pillars of IFMSA.

Every year, over 14,000 medical students go on an exchange abroad. In the Netherlands, as IFMSA-NL, we offer Dutch students this possibility as well. The exchange entails doing an internship in a foreign country for four weeks. The student whose quote was used above did a professional exchange, meaning he was able to shadow a doctor and in that manner learn all about a different health care system. In the research exchanges we offer students the possibility to improve their research skills in addition to getting to know a different culture.

One could ask why these exchanges contribute to global health. The answer might be more comprehensive than expected. Through the exchanges students can experience global health challenges first hand. Not only are they enabled to shadow a professional, and in that way get to know the hospital or research setting; but they are enabled to shadow a professional in another country.

Here, challenges might exist that do not exist back home. Additionally, students might get aware of challenges that do exist in their home country, but have been tackled in their exchange country. This can lead to new insights on both the health care system back home and the health care system in the exchange country, and eventually in global health itself.

Through ample preparation IFMSA-NL tries to expand the growth of exchange students on the subject of global health to the fullest. Early on, the students are introduced to global health. Experts on the field of global health are invited to give lectures and students are pushed to set goals concerning global health prior to their exchange.

The results booked and the reactions of the students show that this exchange experience is very valuable and indeed helps them to understand global health, which is so eloquently illustrated by the quote used above. This, in turn, will result in future health professionals to be well-rounded and internationally oriented, which will lead to better health everywhere.

About the writer

Iris Blom is a third year medical student at the University of Amsterdam. Currently, she is the National Exchange Officer General 2016-2017 of IFMSA-NL, coordinating the exchanges of IFMSA-NL on a national level. She has been active within IFMSA since the start of her medical studies. Additionally she is active within Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, she does honours at her university, she plays field hockey and loves to sing and play the piano. Before starting medical school in Amsterdam, Iris finished her first year of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Swarthmore College, United States of America. 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

A Young entrepreneur cries out: “start in Europe, stay in Europe”

For the future of Europe youth remains a priority

ECB ready to counter the rise of the euro?

Galileo funding: A ‘small’ difference of €700 million

Commission challenges Council over EU 2014 budget

The refugee crisis brings to light EU’s most horrible flaws and nightmares

UN-based World Summit Award (WSA) presents its master list on digital innovation with impact on society from 24 countries

Predicting two more years of economic stagnation

Why Eurozone urgently needs the ECB to print and distribute at least €500 billion

Economic recovery won’t tackle youth unemployment problem

The Americans are preparing for the next financial crisis

The Irish Presidency bullies the Parliament over EU budget

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

Cancer research put at risk by General Data Protection Regulation? The possible dangers of a data privacy EU mania

European Union disenchanted with Turkey

European Banking Union: no one is perfect

US – Russia bargain on Syria, Ukraine but EU kept out

Paris, Washington, IMF against Berlin and ECB on money and interest

How I met the Panda Woman

Why do thousands of migrants need to be drowned for Brussels to wake up?

Greece and Ukraine main items on EU28 menu; the course is set

China’s New Normal and Its Relevance to the EU

EU seeks foreign support on 5G from Mobile World Congress 2015 as the “digital gold rush” begins

The developing countries keep the world going

What do Europeans believe about the crisis and the possible way out?

UN Environment Assembly 2017: where the world convenes to #BeatPollution

Meet the Junior Enterprise network at JEWC 2014!

Irish Presidency: Not a euro more for EU budgets

Berlin vies for a Germanic European Central Bank

Mood changes in Europe in favour of growth and jobs

European Energy Union: Integration of markets and need for in-house energy production

Is Eurozone heading towards a long stagnation?

Brexit mission impossible: Theresa May was so desperate that had to appoint Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary

Mobile young people create the European labour market of tomorrow

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

Brexiteer May gets lip-service from Trump and Turkish promises from Erdogan

Dreaming of China

Horse meat runs faster than authorities…

Why France, Italy and the US press Germany to accept a cheaper euro and pay for Greece

The European Parliament x-rays the troika’s doings

Azeri natural gas will keep the EU warm soon

EU Parliament: ECB accountable for not supporting real economy

Does Switzerland really need more medical students?

Syria: A bloody tracer of Trump – Putin rapprochement

Reality Shock

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

French election: Will France vote for a reformed or no EU?

Merkel had it her way with the refugees & immigrants but can Greece and Turkey deliver?

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

MWC 2016 LIVE: Stripe gives payments leg-up to startups in emerging markets

EU fight against tax-evasion and money laundering blocked by Britain

The EU pollution rights trading system frozen

MWC 2016 LIVE: T-Mobile US reveals 5G trial plans

Youth policy in Europe not delivering for young people

Climate change and health: public health awareness in an international framework

EU free-trade agreements with Canada and US: imagine the fallout if put to national referendums

Why growth is now a one way road for Eurozone

What our leaders hide from us

A European Discovers China: 3 First Impressions

EU Council: The US airlines may freely pollute the European air

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s