Pharmacy students participate in cultural exchange with University of Granada in Spain

September 05, 2014

College of Pharmacy students in Granada, Spain
College of Pharmacy students in Granada, Spain

UNE’s College of Pharmacy students have a unique opportunity to participate in a global immersion experience.  The young UNE College of Pharmacy, established 2008, has partnered with one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe, University of Granada in Spain, in an academic exchange.  The exchange allowed seven College of Pharmacy students to spend several weeks immersed in the Spanish culture, language and healthcare system in May and June of 2014.

While in Granada, Spain, students live with host families who provide living quarters, meals, and, most importantly, a support system for learning the culture and language. The first two weeks of the experience are spent exploring the Spanish language at the University of Granada Modern Language Centre. In addition to intensive study of language, students attend lectures, visit community and hospital pharmacies, a pharmaceutical distribution company, and the Andalusian Public Health Center.

An important aspect of the course is daily recitation sessions and writing/reflection exercises during which students integrate and discuss concepts relating to current events, European versus United States healthcare policy, as well as the impact of culture on healthcare decisions and policy making.  Recitations are led by UNE faculty who accompany the students to Spain.

One program participant from the class of 2015 stated, “I believe that I have learned much about myself during this rotation, in addition to patient care skills.  We were all challenged in one way or another and had to deal with both language and cultural barriers.  I believe from this we have all learned to be more empathetic to the patients that we serve and try to understand where they are coming from.”

During the 2014 exchange experience, UNE pharmacy students attended a nutrition class at the University of Granada, which helped them realize the importance of culture in healthcare. The group visited Abbott Nutrition, producers of a wide range of nutritional supplements such as Ensure and PediaSure. The facility in Granada has a Research and Development Department (currently researching neurotransmitters) and uniquely produces infant and child supplements.

The students also toured Biosearch Life, a biotechnology company associated with pharmaceutical, nutritional and functional food research and development. According to the attending students, “our last nutrition class at the University of Granada ended on a very delicious note! We learned how to taste olive oil, cheese, ham, and wine. We even made vanilla ice cream using liquid nitrogen!”

The University of New England expects its graduates to be competent global citizens, inspired by the work ethic of Maine, traditions of the United States, and knowledge of the world’s cultures. The global exchange program with the University of Granada helps UNE students become globally aware before becoming practitioners.

Seven University of Granada students have arrived at the University of New England College of Pharmacy for several weeks of experiences, including visits to community and hospital pharmacies and a pharmaceutical company as well as enrollment in the elective course Vaccine Preventable Diseases.



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