On Sunday April 17, a group of 250 MSc Global Health students and more than 30 faculty members gathered for a welcome dinner in Manipal to kick off the 6th Global Health Symposium.
Every year, Global Health students from all three universities – McMaster, Maastricht, and Manipal – travel to India for the culmination of the program: a simulated international summit. During these intense two-weeks, students from partner universities present their research, receiving critical feedback from health policy-makers, activists, and expert researchers in the global health field.
A packed schedule on Monday and Tuesday covered introductory sessions, including details about the upcoming field work, an overview of the Indian healthcare system, and system mapping workshops.
Student groups also began preparing for interviews with community stakeholders, a key component of the field work, which involves collecting information to create a system map of the key actors involved in a particular health topic. Faculty members provided culturally sensitive training on the art of interviewing, the dos and don'ts of how to guide a conversation, and how to create a climate of trust and collect the required information without biases.
Meanwhile, other student groups presented a pitch in front of a jury to defend their global health project proposal – the result of four months of online collaboration between peers from all three universities.
Despite the pressure, heat and jetlag, the students are enjoying their time so far.
“It’s so much fun to be all gathered here in Manipal and spend these two weeks together, sharing intense and enriching moments,” says McMaster student Rhonda Boateng. “I have met amazing people from different continents who have become my close friends.”
Following the symposium, students will complete global health practicums within local communities as far away as Bolivia, Guatemala, Tanzania, and Norway.