Broaden your horizons: Study abroad options in health sciences

By in Sports & Health

Although studying abroad is a concept usually associated with the fine arts and humanities, the University of Saskatchewan also provides several travel options for students in the health sciences.

International study at the U of S is co-ordinated by the International Student and Study Abroad Centre. Staff at ISSAC can help you discuss your options and help figure out which ones are best for you. Certain colleges also offer program-specific study abroad options.

Studying abroad is a unique way to enhance both your academic and personal life. Students  who study abroad have the opportunity to enrich their academic knowledge, develop their independence and gain valuable skills for their future career.

Health Sciences - Study Abroad - Flickr - nyayahealth
Studying abroad allows students to gain a global perspective.

For the health sciences, specifically, studying abroad can provide the opportunity to learn about health care from a global perspective — leading to more comprehensive health-care strategies.

Most students at the U of S are eligible to participate in an exchange program with a partner university in another country. You spend one or two terms attending a partner university, while still paying U of S tuition rates and earning credits towards your degree. Students are able to choose from over 136 universities in 40 different countries.

In order to be eligible to participate in an exchange program, most students must have completed or be in the process of completing 60 credit units and maintain an overall average of 70 per cent or higher. The requirements are more lenient for students in the College of Arts and Science, where only 30 credits and a 65 per cent average are required.

Students from the College of Kinesiology can attend 115 partner universities around the world. These options range from the relatively close, like the University of Alaska in Anchorage or the University of Guadalajara in Mexico to the far flung, like the University of Oslo in Norway or the University of Queensland in Australia.

Making the Links Certificate in Global Health is an accredited program offered to first-year medical students at the U of S. This unique certificate prepares students for future careers serving marginalized populations, both at home and abroad. Making the Links takes two years to complete and includes a six-week placement in a developing country. Students work under close supervision to gain a greater understanding of global health and the strategies needed for creating a healthier world.

In the past, the College of Nursing has offered an international study abroad option to students in the final year of their degree. As part of the bachelor of science degree in nursing, students are required to complete hands-on training components called practicums. Instead of completing their practicum in the local community, nursing students could choose to work in a variety of countries, including Australia, Tanzania and Finland. Unfortunately, the program is currently undergoing review and students are unable to take part at this time.

If none of these options seem like the right fit for you, students also have the ability to co-ordinate an independent study abroad program with the help of an academic advisor. Keep in mind that any credits you earn abroad may not transfer over to the U of S unless approved by your college, and you will have to pay international tuition rates instead of U of S rates.

Studying abroad isn’t for everyone. It can be a significant financial commitment. Students are responsible for organizing all of their own travel and accommodation arrangements. Credits do not always transfer easily. However, the benefits can often outweigh the sacrifices. If you’re willing to take the risk, studying in another country can broaden your horizons and change your life for the better.

Emily Klatt / Sports & Health Editor

Photo: nyayahealth / Flickr