By Kate Hunger
Many students spend Spring Break far away from the classroom, but a group of students from UT Health San Antonio used their time off to travel across the world to learn about health care in different countries.
Second-year occupational therapy master's student Sarah Purcell was one of 17 students from the School of Health Professions and the School of Nursing who visited Coventry University in England.
"We took classes with them and got to explore a bit and took tours of some hospitals," she said of the nine-day March trip.
Accompanying the students to Coventry were David Henzi, Ed.D, associate dean for academic and student affairs at the School of Health Professions, David Byrd, Ph.D., associate dean for admissions and students services at the School of Nursing, and Sara Gill, Ph.D., RN, IBCLC, FAAN, associate dean for graduate studies and professor at the School of Nursing.
For the second year in a row, a group of students and faculty traveled to Bogota, Colombia, on a visit sponsored by Universidad Manuel Beltran, Leticia Bland, MPAS, PA-C, assistant professor from the Physician Assistant Studies department, and Maria Danet Lapiz-Bluhm, Ph.D., RN, associate professor at the School of Nursing, accompanied six students on the trip.
Both trips provided cultural and educational opportunities that enabled students to experience both classroom and hospital settings.
"It gives them a snapshot of what it takes to be an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a nurse in another country," Henzi said.
The travel experiences also give students a firsthand look at the major differences in health care between countries.
"We got a good exploration of how their health care system is different from our and how it works," Purcell said of her visit to Coventry University. "We got to see what kinds of things might help our system and what kinds of things just would never mesh with our system."
Plans are underway for additional travel experiences in 2019, including India and the Yucatan Peninsula.
"Our students love to travel," Henzi said.