Nursing students enroll in new course in Switzerland

Justine Stump

Students who witnessed world leaders making important health policy decisions in Switzerland last summer said they encourage others to share the experience next semester.

About 17 students spent two weeks in Switzerland for a three-credit-hour course called Global Health Immersion. It took place for the first time in summer 2011 and will take place again May 19 through June 2, 2012. The deadline for applying is December 1.

“I think students’ world views expanded tremendously, and now they’re motivated to do research and help those living in developing countries,” said Barbara Yoost, a lecturer in the College of Nursing who started the course in Switzerland.

Morgan Sanor, senior nursing major, said she first heard about the trip in her Honors Experience class with Yoost and decided to go.

“Rather than viewing it as a life-changing experience, which it ended up being,” Sanor said. “I first thought of the trip as an amazing opportunity to vacation in Europe and meet some new people, and maybe even a resume booster.”

Students who are interested must fill out an application for the 20 spots available. To be eligible, a student must be a junior or senior and have a 3.0 minimum GPA. Yoost said other majors are welcome to apply but priority is given to public health and nursing students.

During the summer, Yoost said Kent State students were the only students allowed at the World Health Assembly. The assembly had a variety of influential speakers such as Bill Gates, Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Assembly, and Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh.

Sanor said before the trip she was focused on patient-centered, more individualistic care and was not interested in global health. But after watching the speakers from different countries come together for a common purpose, she said she was inspired.

“This trip changed my life,” Sanor said. “It changed the way I view myself, my eventual profession, and the entire world.”

Jessica Lanzarotta, 22, is a nursing major from Uniontown. She said the trip made her more aware of health care conditions in other parts of the world.

“The list of things I learned is unbelievable,” she said. “Not only did we learn a lot at the World Health Assembly about different diseases and conditions affecting people around the world and what the WHA is doing about it, but also about the culture we were in while we stayed in Switzerland.”

For in-state students, the cost of the trip is approximately $5,000 including all course fees, the university application fee, insurance, sightseeing fees and ground transportation, approximate airfare, tuition, housing and independent meals.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Yoost said. “It was a great group, and I look forward to another great group this year.”

Both Sanor and Lanzarotta agreed that their trip to Switzerland was a life changing experience that they will remember forever.

“I would tell students to take this opportunity if it is at all possible,” Sanor said. “Go be part of something bigger. Get out of your school, your community, your state and your comfort zone. Go a student, and return a leader.”

Contact Justine Stump at [email protected].