In partnership with CHA University, West Coast University took its Global Public Health program to South Korea for the first time.
WCU students had the opportunity to engage with fellow nursing students from CHA University during two weeks of the Summer 2016 term. The Global Public Health scholars from both universities worked side-by-side to discover the best practices of community health, as managed within both South Korea and the United States.
Trip Summary: Korea
Dates: July 8–23, 2016
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Faculty Coordinator: Eva Artates, WCU-Orange County
Nursing Ambassador: April Kilmer, CHOC
WCU Staff: Tina Newton; director, International Education; Dr. Robyn Nelson; dean, College of Nursing; Bethany Thrasher; faculty manager, International Education
Students were presented information about public health issues in South Korea, and worked to share U.S. public health topics with their peers. Later, both groups worked together to present community teaching projects to sixth graders. As part of this experience, students participated together in two cross-cultural simulations with standardized patient actors.
Another highlight of the GPH Korea program was touring the Seoul Metropolitan Children’s Hospital.
“It’s the only hospital in South Korea to care for abandoned or neglected babies,” WCU-Orange County BSN student John Torres said. “Half the patients served are abandoned due to either congenital disability or socioeconomic difficulty.”
The hospital has a 236-bed capacity and its staff of 250 offers a comprehensive set of services, such as art therapy, aqua therapy and music therapy.
“I was heartbroken when I first learned that half of the hospital’s patients were abandoned children. I definitely had to hold back my tears when I saw children with congenital diseases in the ICU floor,” WCU-OC’s Gabrielle Domanic said. “I later learned that these children were born this way due to the lack of oxygen during child birth causing damage to their brain. My spirit was lifted after seeing how many other services were offered to children at their hospital.”
During the time in Korea, the group also visited AnYang Mental Health Center where students had the opportunity to listen to lectures relating to mental health.
“I did not expect to have a lot of fun while learning new aspects of nursing,” WCU-Los Angeles BSN student Sanda Warda said. “Our visit to AnYang Mental Health Center was one of my favorite spots to visit. Before going to the center, I had several questions regarding mental health issues in Korea, and that visit addressed them. The presentation that was given to us expressed how mental health problems differ in the Korean culture.”
No trip to Korea would be complete without a tour of Chaum, a huge, wellness-focused hospital located in Seoul. Chaum incorporates medical technologies from the East and West and focuses on the overall health of patients instead of only tending to a particular ailment.
Despite spending the majority of their time on clinical visits, the WCU cohort did learn more about Korean culture during the program. Students attended a traditional tea ceremony, and spent one rainy day visiting a Buddhist temple and folk village, as well as a local herb garden.
For the final excursion, the entire group of 30 CHA and WCU students and five staff dressed in traditional Korean costumes for a tour of the royal palace. The group ended their tour with a traditional Korean lunch and broke into three groups creating handcrafted fans, bookmarks and decorated shirts. Each team was given a historical talk reviewing the methods and purpose of each handcrafted item and a small portion of the group took part in a home tour. The group ended the day with a closing dinner at Seoul Tower, which provided breathtaking panoramic views of Seoul.
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