As the Global Health Symposium in Manipal came to an end last week, students reflected on the eye-opening experience, its challenges, and the opportunity to work with their peers face to face.
“I would describe the dynamic within my group as very positive,” said McMaster student Zane Brickman. “We all got along and were able to bond over our similarities and differences.”
Manipal student Pragya Mohan, a group leader during the symposium, explained that, despite any cultural differences, “All my group members were intellectual, enthusiastic, patient, and willing to work.”
Finally, Maastricht student Maik Paridaans noted that he particularly enjoyed speaking with colleagues from Manipal, and learning about Indian culture and traditions. “I wanted to abide by all unwritten cultural rules,” he explained, drawing attention to one of the key skills the program cultivates: cross-cultural intuition in diverse group settings.
Simulating a real-world international symposium, the Manipal experience encourages students to develop strategies to ‘read’ diverse group situations and overcome communication and cultural barriers – interpersonal skills that can only be acquired through practical experience.
During the symposium, students must submit an abstract and present the plan for their scholarly paper/thesis research project in a real life, peer-reviewed environment. The presentation is interactive and students are challenged to integrate feedback from peers, faculty members, and experts in the global health field.
Now that the symposium has finished, students will proceed to their field placements – which can be anywhere from four weeks to two months, in locations all over the world – or continue with their thesis research.