As news broke in the spring of 2016 that Zika virus, a mosquito-borne disease first identified in Uganda in 1947, was being reported for the first time in the Western Hemisphere, Rio de Janeiro was in its final preparations for the 2016 Summer Olympics. To add to an already a challenging moment in Rio’s history, the announcement of the Zika virus in Brazil was yet another blow to the city and its people.
As the events in Rio de Janeiro illustrate, we live in an increasingly interconnected world where the potential for health threats is ever more present, and where global health specialists must understand the ways in which societal factors as well as diseases affect a population’s health.
Those studying global health will be at the forefront of the battle against future international health challenges, including the rise of pandemics and the toll of resource insecurity on the global population. Students taking on this challenge require the finest training and opportunities, which is why CEA developed a Global Health program in Buenos Aires.
CEA’s Global Health: A Latin American Perspective program creates a framework for students to examine health-related issues such as diseases, nutrition, and healing in a holistic manner. Students build cultural competence and sensitivity through interactions with public health organizations, and facilitate understanding of the challenges of working in resource-poor areas.
Two core courses drive the program: Comparative Healing Systems and Global Environmental Health.
This is a semester-long, four or five course (12-15 credits) opportunity designed for students majoring or seeking certification in Global Health. The program is rounded out with one language and one or two elective courses available through the CEA Buenos Aires Study Center. Students can also opt to augment their Spanish language proficiency before the semester begins with a two-week intensive language course during the Early Start session.
CEA offers other options for students interested in studying Global Health and Health Sciences, including programs in Costa Rica, France, Spain, and the UK. CEA provides students the opportunity to take their learning outside of the classroom and experience it within their host culture. In addition, students benefit from the support of CEA’s local staff, who are deeply committed to the success of their study abroad experience.
Further information regarding CEA’s Global Health: A Latin American Perspective in Buenos Aires including application requirements and deadlines can be found here.
If you’d like to see our Buenos Aires programs firsthand, we have an upcoming Familiarization Trip November 6-11, 2017. Explore our vast academic curriculum, experiential learning opportunities and cultural activities with colleagues from around the U.S. Nominate yourself or a colleague by June 9.
Custom and faculty-led study abroad programs provide faculty the opportunity to share their academic passion for what they know and love in an internationally relevant setting. The chance to take their syllabus to the streets of Paris, Buenos Aires, Rome and beyond brings coursework to life for students and faculty alike.
One such educator who decided to share his passion for exercise and diet psychology with his students is Dr. John Coumbe-Lilley, Clinical Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Coumbe-Lilley worked with CEA to create Mediterranean Diet and Movement, a faculty-led program that took place in Barcelona during the summer of 2016.
Recently, CEA interviewed Dr. Coumbe-Lilley on his experience in general and how CEA was able to help him turn a big idea into a reality. We are thankful for his time and candor.
Why did you want to create a study abroad program and what did you want to share with your students?
I grew up in the United Kingdom and did my first foreign exchange as a 12-year old boy to France, and I did two more in my teens to Germany. Through my participation in sport, education, and consulting I have been fortunate to perform and work in Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. My life has been enriched by these experiences.
I wanted to create programs for students to have their own experiences and embrace an understanding of different cultures in a purposeful and meaningful way. Essentially, I wanted to be a person who created opportunities for students like others had done for me in the hope that it will lead to an uplifting and positive view of the world.
I also wanted to share my appreciation for our field of study through acquired knowledge mediated by experiential learning and growth through self-chosen challenge using my strengths in qualitative research, integrated curriculum design, in particular creating the conditions for my students to give themselves permission to learn and be in ways that they might not at our home campus.
Did students enjoy a meaningful learning experience?
Yes. They would often say "This is not a course. This is an experience." I can't recall a day over the five weeks of last year's program when my teaching assistant or I ever had the sense we were off target. We sought out feedback at regular intervals and the students wanted more. In fact, 10 students volunteered for even more qualitative research skills training because it was taught in an applied way and Barcelona was the classroom. They gave up a free day to do more. Once that happened, I was like "okay, something special happened here.” The students loved project-based work and the use of the city as the active classroom. I would teach in city streets, parks, plazas, museums, beaches, and markets, and the students loved it.
Does your university (or department) have resources that could help realize your vision?
I have a great team to work with in our study abroad office. I regard my colleagues there and my colleagues at CEA as part of my team. I rely on their knowledge and wisdom to guide my creative thinking and help create the conditions I desire for my students to experience.
How did CEA help make your unique program a reality?
CEA helped me shape my vision and assured the implementation of the program I desired to lead. The academics team in Barcelona was instrumental in helping our students achieve their learning objectives… they made sure the local faculty and programming matched the goals of my program and the treatment of the students was exemplary. Without the leadership and support of the CEA staff in Barcelona the students understood we all would have had a poorer experience.
Was the program a success and what was the most beneficial aspect of the program?
By our measures of success this was resounding. This year we were three times over the minimum subscribed based on the 2016 program. The most beneficial aspect was that the program achieved its academic and social goals. My undergraduate researchers used the experience as their platform to finish their work in April 2017. Many of these students have gone on to achieve high grades, assume leadership roles in student organizations, tutoring positions, and attain further research opportunities. I know from post-program interviews, students have stronger personal confidence and continue to perform well academically while demonstrating the qualities we hope all our students will show when they graduate.
Would you consider working with CEA again in the future?
For sure. I expect to work with CEA in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
CEA understands that no two universities are alike. To address the unique needs of our university partners we provide flexible program options at most of our locations ranging from 3 weeks, to a quarter or semester. No matter what level of support you’re seeking to make your study abroad a reality, CEA Custom & Faculty-led programming is in the position to provide the right amount of support for your specific needs, from the most basic of overseas logistics to full program creation. We’ve also simplified this process over time (only four main steps!) and continue to grow our options and ways of support.
How do we encapsulate a life-changing experience to best convey what we saw, what we learned, how we grew? Learning to frame and share a study abroad experience is one of the lasting rewards of being a CEA Alumni Ambassador. But learning to share an international education experience with peers and others is just one of the many benefits for CEA Ambassadors. The opportunity to take on leadership roles and to advocate for the merits of study abroad in general is high on the list as well.
The CEA Alumni Ambassador Program provides a community forum and resource for returning study abroad students. The Alumni Relations team is excited to see what the cohort will do this year, for CEA’s 20th anniversary. So far, the ambassador program has increased study abroad awareness on more than 150 campuses nationwide. CEA Alumni Relations Associate Shayla Auer is currently working with 105 ambassadors around the country and is watching closely to see how they’re progressing. What has struck her so far is the sense of community the Ambassadors share, and the powerful role the program plays in giving returning study abroad students an avenue for communicating their experience.
“Students come back from being abroad where they’ve had a great semester and they still want to be involved.” Auer said. “Now, since 2012 when the program was launched, students have an outlet and facility as well as support from CEA, and as an ambassador they can feel connected to the (study abroad) community.”
All ambassadors welcome this chance to share and promote study abroad, but some ambassadors go the extra mile in leveraging their experience to lead them closer to careers in international education. Two such ambassadors, Ethan Spadino and Kayla Somerville, have each grown from their experiences while abroad and upon return. Participating in the CEA Alumni Ambassador Program is where they worked on framing their experience and mastering their advocacy skills. Both are currently pursuing greater international career opportunities.
This semester, Ethan Spadino is an on-site ambassador with the CEA Study Center in Prague. According to Ethan, the ambassador program helped him prepare for his future career and that he’s learned to clearly retell his experience to others.
“I am able to better articulate my experience, speak more confidently, and retain all of my beloved study abroad memories,” Spadino said.
Kayla Somerville, now employed as a Project Assistant at The University of Memphis, eventually became a Senior Ambassador upon her return from studying abroad in Costa Rica. As an ambassador, she enjoyed seeing other students become inspired to study or intern abroad.
“I think the greatest joy of the Ambassador position is seeing how your passion for CEA and studying abroad empowers students to also study abroad,” Somerville said.
Kayla goes on to encourage students considering a study or internship and abroad program to go for it now.
“Studying or interning abroad will add so much positivity and perspective to your life and help you with pinpointing your passions,” she said.
If you believe your CEA students would benefit from a post-study or internship opportunity, one that will help them articulate their experience while offering them further leadership and learning opportunities, we hope you’ll encourage them to apply. To nominate a student, email us at email@example.com. Deadline for fall cohort applications is June 23.
CEA was wonderful to work with…Their support and knowledge was constant through the planning and execution.
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