Student Reflection

Learning to Be Flexible Through Global Health

BHSc Field School 

I was excited to participate in the Community Health Engagement Virtual Field Experience and Group Study Program in Uganda in July of 2021. However, that was cancelled since Uganda went into a lockdown and the safety of Mbarara University of Science and Technology students, staff and faculty was important. Despite the change in plans, I was able to participate in a studentship with the Indigenous, Local, and Global Health (ILGH) Office focused on communications work. My task was to interview former global health students to create content to share their experiences, lessons and career paths with others interested in global health. I was excited to work on this as I am very interested in the global health field and what careers are available. 

Through the studentship, I was able to improve my communication skills by interviewing individuals who had previously participated in global health initiatives, and ask them questions about their experiences. I was also able to develop an understanding of how to best answer questions when being interviewed. After interviewing everyone, I had further insight into global health experiences offered through the ILGH Office and learned about things participants wished they knew before going on their trips. 

Many of the interviewees had similar advice such as the benefit of learning a little bit of the country’s language to increase engagement with locals. Additionally, they mentioned going into global health with an open mind, and emphasized how being flexible was extremely important. I also was able to see that there are many career options in global health - far more than I initially thought. I interviewed people who worked in medicine, in veterinary medicine, and with NGOs. 

Initially, I was a bit disappointed that the field school was cancelled. But as I learned from the participants, in global health things don’t always turn out the way we expect, and being flexible and able to make the best of the situation really matters. Overall, I was extremely happy with still being able to work in a global health context. I know I have learned many lessons and skills during my studentship that will help me as I pursue a career in global health.

- Deb | Bachelor of Health Sciences 

Deb BHSc student