As I spend these next couple of weeks in Graz, there are a couple of academic, personal, and professional goals I hope to accomplish.
As a student interested in healthcare and building more equitable communities, healthcare systems has become a topic of interest to me. Living in the United States has provided one experience of a multi-payer system based on a Western medical system. However, it is also important to see other types of healthcare systems in action in order to be able to suggest knowledgeable improvements to the American healthcare system and enact those changes.
Academically, this program ties in my Sociology minor, Certificate in Global Health, and my Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies minor in a way that allows me to pursue an academic area I am interested in that I could not explore on campus in the same way. The courses provided by this program are great ways to learn about the public health of a different country in a way that cannot be done on campus through simply textbooks and readings. Talking and learning from Austrian physicians and visiting and observing healthcare facilities will allow me an inside look at Austrian public health and how it is affected by their healthcare system. This experience will be invaluable to my academic career by allowing me to discover the ins and outs of public health of another country. I will be able to use what I learn to inform both my studies in public health and medicine in a unique way as I will not only have experiential knowledge about public health in America but also Austria.
Professionally, my post-graduation goals include finishing a Master of Public Health degree and applying for medical school in a couple of years. I will be able to apply the knowledge that I gain through this program to both these educational goals. My experiences will provide me a unique perspective and thought process when earning my public health degree and during my work as a public health professional, improving my informed opinions on public health policy. Similarly, in medical school and as a future physician, I will have a greater understanding of where our healthcare system may not be supporting patients and work in an informed manner to bridge that gap.
Personally, studying abroad has always been a collegiate goal for me. This program ticks off this box for me while allowing me an education in an academic area that I am interested in. While here, I would still like to learn more about the culture, food, and people of Graz and Austria. Through excursions to different Austrian capitals over the weekends and weekly meetups with Graz students, my time here will be more enriched with these experiences. I can’t wait to see what else Graz has to offer me!