A growing consensus says college graduates need international experiences to succeed in a global marketplace. So Winston-Salem State University has developed opportunities for its students to receive that experience.
A global-understanding class in WSSU’s School of Health Sciences introduced health-care-management students to other cultures and health-care practices in other countries without the students having to leave their classroom. Through interactive technologies such as videoconferencing, these students were able to have a face-to-face connection with students from the Hubei University of Chinese Medicine. WSSU began developing a relationship with Hubei University in 2010, and that is leading to a dual degree program in nursing.
“This assignment has significantly impacted me in a great way,” said Kimberly Braswell, a junior from Clayton. “I enjoyed chatting with Alice on Viber and on Skype in a classroom setting. We are all diverse students, and this class has allowed me to see life from a different perspective.”
“This course offered a unique opportunity for students and faculty of health-related professions from Hubei and WSSU to learn about different aspects of life, health and health-care issues that impact their future practice as professionals,” said Dr. Darlene Perez-Brown, clinical associate professor and academic fieldwork coordinator in the Occupational Therapy Department at WSSU. “The academic exchange is based on assignments for pairs of students representing each institution and includes both written communications using technology tools, such as phones, tablets and laptops, and face-to-face dialogue through live chatting. We wanted our students to have the opportunity to understand social and economic perspectives that impacts have on health care and health-care management in foreign countries.”
The course is part of the UNC System’s Global Understanding Initiative, which aims to provide more-accessible international experiences for students. As for the WSSU students, they appreciated being able to hear first-hand from their counterparts in China.
“You can always read or watch a documentary about another culture, but to actually connect with someone from another country and learn about their lifestyle is an awesome experience and it can give you a better perspective,” said Erica Owens, a junior from Winston-Salem. “I feel that I have grown personally and have become more globally competent. The biggest impact for me was getting to know our Chinese partners and meeting someone who lives on the other wide of the world.”
In addition to the interaction with students, the course included guest speakers from both universities.