University of Pittsburgh | BradfordHeinz Programming Area:
Nicolette had the opportunity to spend five weeks studying healthcare and culture in the beautiful countries of Austria and Slovenia. She took two courses: History of Medicine and Healthcare, as well as World Comparative Healthcare Systems. She specifically studied how a national healthcare plan affects the wellbeing of communities and what makes these systems run efficiently. That knowledge was reinforced through interacting with patients using this system at hospitals and nursing homes. She also spoke with the leaders who help to create healthcare laws. While she travelled, she found herself challenging her own thoughts and belief systems. She felt found similarities between herself and European students, but also marveled at the differences in culture and nationalism. She formed close bonds with the university students she met along the way who questioned her perspective in a constructive way. Taking part in a Stammtisch, which is a special time to talk with friends about social or political issues made her feel welcome and at home in Austria. The awe and beauty of the local history in each country and the community’s dedication to these sites was incredible. She left with a new understanding of healthcare, but also with pieces of a culture different than her own. One that has made her slow down and enjoy life, but has lit a fire within her to discover more of this amazing world.