Global Healthcare course takes students to U.K.: "Travel is critical, your perceptions change"

July 12, 2022 | UHCL Staff

UK study abroad

Traveling internationally can enhance more than a college student’s resume. For Edgar Tijerina, who is pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from University of Houston-Clear Lake, taking a course called Global Healthcare and traveling to Harlaxton College in Grantham, England will impact him far beyond what he lists on his resume.

The trip was led by Professor of Healthcare Management Ashish Chandra, who has visited Harlaxton College previously and established this study-abroad opportunity with the help of Executive Director of Study Abroad and Scholar Services Bianca Schonberg

"The program was specifically geared towards the healthcare administration students," Chandra said. "Learning about the rich history of how the Black Plague impacted the U.K. and the roles that some of the community leaders played was of particular value in light of the current pandemic that the world is channeling through. But most importantly, the friendships that the students established with each other is like they became a lifelong family."

Chandra said students' experiences from site visits and attending lectures would provide them with new perspectives on how to address the issues they would face as healthcare administrators. "New, effective, and efficient ways of addressing problems is what most of the employers are looking for," he explained. "Such study abroad opportunities also help in developing a greater sense of responsibility as well as confidence of being able to grow independently in unknow communities."

Tijerina said that seeing the world and getting out of his comfort zone changed his perspective on a number of things. "We sit in our comfort and we think this is all there is, but when you see the world, your perceptions change and you aren't stuck thinking one way," he said.

He added the purpose of the 9-day trip was to study the origins of healthcare, beginning in the first almshouses and hospitals which initiated what is now called "healthcare."

"We visited Eyam, the last city in England to get the bubonic plague in the 1670s, and drew parallels to the lockdowns we had during the COVID pandemic," he said. "They were the only city to isolate, but the whole town was infected. We can understand through these parallels, even though situations change, that we are trying to save lives by the same principals."

Travel, said Tijerina, is critical to his career path as a future healthcare administrator. "I have always traveled and felt there was a big world out there," he said. "Seeing it makes me a better person. It's humbling, because we don't know how good we have it, and we don't know how healthcare is for others. I will make better decisions because of this."

He said he plans to continue toward his Master of Healthcare Administration at UH-Clear Lake when he completes his bachelor's in the fall. "I feel I've gotten the training and preparation I'll need, and that really helped on this trip," he said. "You really get to know everyone on a trip like this. When you get a group, the natural leaders step forward. It gets me to network with people who will be future healthcare leaders in this country."

For more information about UHCL's Education Abroad programs, go online.