Fostering global citizenship in medical students through exchanges


(IFMSA, 2017)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Sheharyar Zameer. The writer is is currently a student at Army Medical College, Pakistan and a co-ordinator at Together We Can Foundation.  He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA).

Youth Exchanges is a relatively newer concept, yet one that has easily become one of the most considered opportunities a student has or will come across. But, what could be the reason behind its immense success? Personally, where it’s a great plan for self-development and awareness leading to a greatly enhanced self-esteem, what impact does it have in terms of understanding global issues?

Exchange students provide a different and neutral, yet a more unique prospective towards the concerned global issue. This prospective is a result of their own way of understanding global issues which is reflected in the solutions they provide. This unique prospective is the sole reason why that student will give a more ‘out-of-the-box’ solution. Take for example; In Mumbai, India a conference regarding increased respiratory problems in Delhi, the Capital of India (due to increasing levels of smog) is held. A native student can provide a couple of promising solutions but probably the most unique and logical solution will be provided by that exchange student from Netherland or that Conference delegate from Australia.

Consider this, When a student undergoes a period of international training be it a Marine studies course for understanding water-borne disorders in Johannesburg or a conference held in Paris for understanding impacts of increased pollution on Health, International Learning propels students towards acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspective. This awareness and adoption of an alternative, multi-faceted approach to learning improves analytical skills along with an increased ability of students to cope in foreign environments.

Another great Impact is that with the increase in a student’s General Knowledge about communities and their social patterns, he is better able to implement his knowledge. The US Department of State concluded its Youth Exchange & Study (YES) Program with ‘Students showed a better understanding of the American Culture and Society with increased implementation of their learning and tolerance in Analytical and Problem Solving Skills.’

Umer Ibrahim, an exchange student from Pakistan says in his blog: – “It’s a once in a life time experience filled with emotions and knowledge… …the Knowledge is unforgettable and the changing outlook at life indefinite…” 

About the author

Sheharyar Zameer is currently a student at Army Medical College, Pakistan and a co-ordinator at Together We Can Foundation. He is also a member of the college research society AURF, community services society ACSS and dramatics society AEDS. He is a recent addition to the IFMSA family and is extremely enthusiastic in taking part in its many workshops and events.His special interests include research in the field of orthopaedics, trauma surgery and public health, learning more about Molecular Biology & Quantum Physics and continuing Literary work.


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