WCU Peer Mentors Reunite with CHA University Students

West Coast students and alumni celebrated a Global Public Health reunion and a birthday with visiting CHA University students recently at WCU-Los Angeles.

Several in the group hadn’t seen each other since WCU’s Global Public Health cohort left South Korea in July 2017. Also, CHA University’s Junyoung Lee was treated to the traditional candles and cake, while her classmates and WCU peer mentors serenaded her with a boisterous version of “Happy Birthday.”

WCU alum Leyla Abbass Ali, who graduated in January 2018, said she was glad to have the opportunity to reunite with the friends she made while studying Global Public Health.

“We were so sad the day we were leaving because we had made such good friends with all these students,” Ali said. “The chance to get to see them again was just amazing and I didn’t know it would happen so I’m so happy. It’s awesome.”

Ali said her roommate from Korea, Jisu Yun, had also joined the 10-week exchange program between WCU and CHA. Ali said she was looking forward to taking Jisu out to dinner and movie — or whatever else she wanted to try.

“I was really excited about the opportunity because I knew most of them (in Korea) and I really wanted the chance to see them again and show them around my city, and my country, and help them out, the way they helped us out in Korea.”


What was the GPH South Korea trip like?

We just had a blast in Korea. We learned a lot and we got to see a lot. There were so many things that were amazing about it. Getting to see a different kind of health care perspective was really cool but we also had a bit of time to explore on our own and see some cultural things, like we got to go to the (Gyeongbok) Palace, wear the hanbok and we got to eat a lot of great food — which I loved.

How different is the health care system there?

I noticed that especially in the large hospitals, everything is really well streamlined. They’re very efficient. They see so many patients every day but they do a really good job of being efficient and thorough. I feel like everyone is just taken care of really well in general throughout their whole life. It just seems that the community is healthier. I’ve noticed also outside of the hospitals that they have a lot of public parks and playgrounds. You just see families out and active together. Everyone is just kind of out and about and just generally healthier. Many people walk places, take public transportation and less people are driving their own cars.

Did you ever think you’d visit South Korea when you first enrolled at WCU?

I just knew I needed to get through school but I did want to apply myself and do as much as I could, so when the opportunity arose I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I have to do this’ and I don’t regret it at all. I think if anyone’s even considering going abroad through West Coast, you should do it, hands down.

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