Picking The Right Program: Why I chose IHP

Before I came to Bryn Mawr, I knew I wanted to study abroad. My sister had spent a semester abroad in Paris, and she said it was life-changing. Once study abroad applications were available, I needed to make a decision: which program was I going to choose?

Bryn Mawr has a variety of program partners and so many options for students to study abroad. When I first saw that huge list, I was attracted to programs that went to multiple destinations. I had never seen a study abroad program that went to more than one country before. Once I saw that one of the multi-destination programs had a public health approach, I was sold!

I am currently doing the IHP: Health and Community program. IHP is committed to providing its students with a dynamic experience. We are conducting a comparative analysis of health in India, South Africa, Brazil and the U.S. (which is why we did two weeks in D.C.) This program is social justice-oriented, and steers us away from having an ethnocentrist mentality during our visits. We’re coming in with a desire to understand how differently health is understood and experienced universally. I also loved the opportunity to focus on one subject through the case study. I knew this was the program for me because it would allow me to explore, and gain a better understanding of, my passions.

I tend to be a homebody and I’m not adventurous, so I love that IHP is driving me to visit different countries and experience different cultures. IHP has a tight-knit community with only 27 students in the program. We take all of our classes together, and each of us has a roommate for our homestays.

If these things sound interesting to you, I would definitely recommend this program! However, it can be far more rigorous than some study abroad programs; the schedules can be very packed; wifi can be hard to come by in these countries; and the time difference takes some getting used to.

When choosing a study abroad program, I strongly suggest you understand everything about the program, so here are a few of tips to help you prepare:

  • Attend the information sessions on campus
  • Talk to as many alumnae as possible about the program
  • Read the program’s website often

It’s just like applying to a college — you want to make sure you make the right decision for you!

Also, if you need any advice or have any questions about this program feel free to comment on this post or email me!


2 thoughts on “Picking The Right Program: Why I chose IHP

  1. Hi there! I’m a freshman at Bryn Mawr and this program you are doing looks amazing. I’ve been to Cape Town and loved it, I’m so glad you love it too. I’m interested in minoring in health studies and majoring in sociology, possibly going to Public Health grad school. What classes are you taking abroad, how have they informed you about public health, and what do you plan on doing when you come back? I know that’s a lot, so anything helps. Hope your time is amazing!!

    • Hello! Throughout our semester abroad, we take 4 classes (Globalization and Health, Public Health, Health and Community, and Research Methods). The first two are taught by local professors in each country and give us great context to the public health systems, the globalization issues, the health issues, the historical context, etc. of each country. The last two are taught by one traveling faculty and the focus might change based on the prof. and the issues that they want to hone in on. The Research Methods class involves a group case study project of your choice (the options this semester were Infectious Diseases, Maternal & Child Health, Environmental Health, Aging & Care, and Psychosocial & Emotional wellbeing). This is my favorite academic part of the program and is helping me make plans for what I will focus on once I’m back on campus. I’m currently trying to see if I can design an independent praxis course on mental health. And since my major is Public Health, this program has also been very helpful for thesis planning. Let me know if you have any more questions! You can email me at psalas@brynmawr.edu. Good luck!!

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