IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture, and Care (Spring 1)

Letters Home

The Letters Home are written by students on this program, with help from the Trustees Fellow, at the end of each country program. Letters from the current academic year can be found at the Letters Home blog. You can read past letters through the links on the right. We hope you enjoy reading about our students’ experiences!

Spring 2013 letters

South Africa
Upon arriving in South Africa, we went to a retreat center called Oatlands in Simon’s Town for a few days of relaxation and orientation before leaving for ten days in the township of Zwelethemba. Our country orientation and guest lectures at Oatlands were absolutely phenomenal. These sessions offered deep insight and context for the weeks ahead. Having a basic knowledge of the current situation in post-apartheid South Africa was an invaluable tool to launch us into the communities in which we would be living. It was difficult, but necessary, to acknowledge the division and fresh pain that still penetrates the heart of this nation.
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After our amazing cultural experience in India, our four weeks in Argentina presented us with many new opportunities and challenges. The similarity of the lifestyle and food of Buenos Aires to that in the United States made us feel comfortable and helped us acclimate quickly. Simultaneously, Argentina made us question our understanding of health and in particular, health as a human right. Through a host of amazing academic activities such as site visits, guest lectures, and classes as well as personal experiences, we had the opportunity to interact with Argentineans and learn about the complexity of the history, healthcare system, values, food, and culture in Argentina.
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New Orleans
As we settle into our lives in India, the colorful chaos of this place has us pondering back on our experiences in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America. It is with great privilege that we all find ourselves on this trip, traveling the world with grace, and studying amongst change and adversity. I know you would all be proud of us at how incredibly positive we have been.
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India has been a whirlwind. This country is full of diversity, beauty, and color. Most of us would agree that it is too hard to sum up our experiences in Chennai in one coherent letter, so we’ve created a series of snapshots to help you envision some of our adventures.
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Spring 2012 Letters

We cannot believe our time in New Orleans has come to an end! These past two and a half weeks have been busy with class orientation, getting to know our fellow IHPers, and exploring NOLA! Our rockstar coordinator SherriLynn Colby-Bottel welcomed and oriented us to the fabulous city by briefing us on transport, sharing gem spots around town, and inviting us in to her lovely abode for home-cooked New Orleanian gumbo.
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This is a common and formal way of greeting people in the south of India, our home for the past five weeks. We learned, ate, and navigated daily through Chennai, the medical and IT capital of India. After a long, tumultuous journey (the flights themselves were an adventure), from the first delay in New Orleans to the uncertainty of making our connections, to the innocuous-appearing “green bean” in the airplane dinner that we realized five seconds too late was actually a hot pepper, we all finally arrived in India. Upon stepping outside of the Chennai airport, we were immediately awash with the humidity, musty air of the city, and the crowds surrounding the airport - a telling beginning to our sensory-packed stay.
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After a long 30+ hour journey, we found ourselves back in the Americas, though one hemisphere to the south and in the sprawling Argentinean metropolis of Buenos Aires. For many of us, this was our first time in Latin America, but it was definitely surprising to see how European this city was. After more than a month in India -- so different from the US -- we all relaxed in the relative familiarity of the city's cafe-and-bookstore culture, its love of medialunas (croissants) and pizza and ice cream, its Italian-esque hand gestures and accent, and its blatantly Parisian-style architecture.
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South Africa
How’s it from South Africa!
After a nine-hour flight from Buenos Aries, we transitioned from Tango to Table Mountain – the iconic natural wonder of Cape Town. After an orientation that provided us with historical, social, and political context to this complex city, we settled into our new homes in the colorful neighborhood, the Bo Kaap, a close-knit Muslim community.
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Credits: 16

Duration: Spring, 16 weeks

Program Sites:
United States, India, South Africa, Brazil

Prerequisites: None. Coursework in public health, anthropology, biology, or related field recommended.

Student Evaluations

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Spring 2013 Evaluations


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