With Samford University’s study abroad program, McWhorter School of Pharmacy students are trading the classroom for a passport.
Samford Pharmacy offers students several unique opportunities to enrich their educational experience by experiencing pharmacy overseas. In fact, the school holds more than a dozen affiliations on five continents in such countries as China, Great Britain, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Paraguay, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Zambia.
“There are few experiences that enrich you as travel does,” said Jenni Beall, professor and director of pharmacy labs and simulation in the school’s Department of Pharmacy Practice. “Learning about a different culture and having an opportunity to see famous locations is incredibly valuable. Adding in the benefit of learning about health care, and pharmacy specifically, in other parts of the world is an eye-opening experience—and you can get course credit!”
International experiences are offered through electives, such as courses that focus on exploring pharmacy and health care in different countries, such as Great Britain and Spain. These electives are designed to teach students about pharmacists’ role in those countries’ respective health care systems.
Students travel in groups with their classmates, led by experienced faculty members who’ve previously traveled to that particular destination. While abroad, the groups visit various sites, including community pharmacies, hospitals, universities, professional associations and famous landmarks.
According to Beall, the experience is invaluable, as are the friendships forged.
“I already know that when I look back on all of my time at Samford, the memories that I made going to London are going to be some of the best times I’ve had here,” she said. “You will have those experiences to share with your classmates, and that creates a bond that lasts beyond graduation.”
Third-year pharmacy student Noah Gann agrees. Gann joined Beall on a trip to London in May 2022 and described the experience as “eye-opening.”
“The trip to London truly opened my eyes to the international importance of pharmacy,” he said. “Learning about how a completely different style of health care approaches the profession of pharmacy … strengthened my love for the profession and started a true interest in international pharmacy relations.”
In addition, Samford Pharmacy offers an elective on medical missions and an Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiential (APPE) program on international pharmacy, the latter of which can be completed in any of the school’s international partner sites.
For pharmacy students considering studying abroad, Gann offered some advice.
“Take the jump and do it,” he said. “It is the best way to see a foreign country for a substantial amount of time. You get to do all the things you planned and dreamed of, as well as learn some cool things along the way. There is plenty of time for everything you want to do, and the professors do an amazing job at balancing school versus fun.”
To learn more, visit here. Deadlines are fast approaching for the Pharmacy and Healthcare in Great Britain and Spain electives. To apply for Pharmacy and Healthcare in Great Britain, visit here. To apply for Pharmacy and Healthcare in Spain, visit here.