Going Global

Story by Hannah Harper

With an ever-increasing need to understand global diversity to meet human needs, study abroad in the College of Health and Human Sciences continues to provide students with opportunities to develop a broader worldview. The College of Health and Human Sciences offers over 30 study abroad programs each year in Asia, Central America, South America, Australia and Europe. Students can expand their studies in sports medicine, public health, hospitality and tourism management, healthcare, business, and youth and child development, as well as other disciplines. Through programs ranging from a spring break experience to a semester program, Purdue students are using their time abroad to make an impact on a global scale and have a little fun in the process.

The following students were the top winners of the 2016 HHS Study Abroad Photo Contest. The contest is held annually in the spring.

Alexandra Lin Zhang celebrating at beach

Picturesque Architecture and Public Health Advocacy
Cartagena, Colombia

Alexandra Lin Zhang’s study abroad took her to the vibrant and diverse city of Cartagena, Colombia. During her time abroad, Zhang, a senior in public health, studied Colombia’s nursing and public health strategies and the country’s public health concerns. Among the colorful edifices of historical buildings and busy streets filled with vendors, she learned that exotic and beautiful landscapes can mask extreme poverty. “The biggest impact on me was when we went to La Boquilla, which is a fishing village in Cartagena,” she says. “There, I saw such poverty and a shocking way of life. The village was not only poverty-stricken but had huge public health issues including lack of sanitation, diseases and lack of sexual education. Yet all the kids we visited at a local elementary school had big smiles on their faces when they saw us.”

After graduation, Zhang hopes to travel to villages like La Boquilla to raise public health awareness through education and health resources.

“I want to make policies and laws about health education that will give everyone an equal chance in gaining the healthiest life they can achieve.” — Alexandra Lin Zhang
architecture in Cartagena Columbia

Resource Needs in the Rainforest
Cahuita, Costa Rica

During her study abroad experience, Emily Layman did more than just zip line through the rainforest. A 2016 graduate who double majored in speech, language, and hearing sciences and developmental and family science, Layman took advantage of an opportunity to study Costa Rican healthcare, agriculture and midwifery.

“I learned that we take a lot for granted in our country,” she says. “Standards of care, patient care and the availability of resources are all things that are expected in our country.”

While visiting a primary school, Layman realized how scarce resources for children with developmental and learning disabilities really are in Costa Rica.

“In my future career, I will be working closely with this population. I want to ensure that children receive all of the help they deserve. I saw firsthand how important early intervention and detection are for the future well-being of children.” — Emily Layman
Emily Layman on a zipline over a forest canopy
group of students in the Costa Rican rainforest

Castles and Culture
Edinburgh, Scotland

For her study abroad experience, Lydia Pottschmidt, a junior in public health, crossed the pond to England, Scotland and Ireland. When she wasn’t exploring Scottish castles on the North Sea, she studied the contemporary public health issues that face countries outside the United States.

“From this experience, I will use the skills learned in my future career of healthcare administration to better our system in the United States,” she says.

Learning about different cultures helped give Pottschmidt a different perspective on those living in countries outside the United States. Her study of current health systems in Ireland and the United Kingdom gave her a greater appreciation for global diversity.

“It is important for Health and Human Sciences students and all students to study abroad because it is a one-of-a-kind experience that teaches you lessons that cannot be learned in the classroom. Culture creates diversity, and diversity creates a successful world with people from different backgrounds.” — Lydia Pottschmidt
Lydia Pottschmidt draped with a Purdue flag overlooking Edinburgh
colorful paint-splotched outline of Scotland