June Spotlight: Sustainable Approaches to Health in France

Students with the French Flag at the Arc de Triomphe
Visting the Arc de Triomphe

In May, students in the AHS 3003: Sustainable Approaches to Health in France course led by Karin Hamilton, DVM, MPH and Dana Lovold, MPH traveled to Montpelier in southern France to explore health and the Sustainable Development Goals. They shared the following about the trip:  

"We looked at the progress Montpelier and France have made with the Sustainable Development Goals and compared that with the US and Minnesota’s progress in the same goals. Students explored France’s culture through excursions to an olive plantation, historical cities, and the Cevennes, a national park. We learned about the social and education systems in France while also visiting the medieval medical school and botanical gardens, gaining a better understanding of health in France. Students built lifelong friendships as they worked in teams and got to know each other while experiencing a new country together."

What did students have to say about the trip? 

"The last two weeks in France were the best experience of my life. I feel so grateful to have been able to live this experience and that I was able to share it with such a great group of students. I know it was only two weeks long, but I will truly treasure those experiences and memories for the rest of my life."

Hiking in the Cevennes
Hiking in the Cevennes

"The smells here are also calming. Everywhere you walk there are fresh flowers and plants or coffee and pastries. The sounds are also calming. I am surprised at how quiet the city is even though there are a lot of people. Everything seems to be happening in a quiet murmur."

"One moment I especially want to remember was when I got gelato with [several of my classmates]. This moment stands out because it felt like a moment of pure bliss. I felt at peace and comfortable in a new city during my first trip abroad. I also felt safe with the friends I had made and grateful to be able to enjoy and experience this trip with them." 

"I think one thing I really want to remember is our visit to the olive grove. It was impactful because so much of French culture was encapsulated by the visit. Everyone moved at a slower, relaxed pace. ...I could hear the wind whooshing over the olive trees and distant conversations of French people enjoying lunch outside at the cafe. In the distance I heard the chickens and closer to me I hear laughter and chatter of the friends I've made on this trip. I smell the barbecue smoke and the patch of roses when we walked in. Inside I smelled the olive oil and balsamic. ... I taste the salty olives and savory meats. I enjoy the sweet, creamy ricotta dessert on my tongue and the crunch of the baguette when I bite. I feel the fur of the miniature pony walking out and brush is softly. I feel the smooth olive in my fingertips and the hard pit inside. I feel the sun glimmering onto my skin and absorbing into my body. All of these senses remind me of my experience and of how peaceful it was there. I had no worries and was able to enjoy a tremendous meal accompanied by joyous conversations with those around me. This moment stands out because it was a time of pure bliss and enjoyment. It forced me to slow down and enjoy, savor."

Colorful stairs in Montpelier
Colorful stairs in Montpelier

Applications are now open for AHS 3001: Health and Medicine in India and AHS 3002: Global Health in Thailand

Join us on one of our exciting winter break global courses, Health and Medicine in India or Global Health in Thailand: Humans, Elephants, and Disease. In Mysore, India, explore India’s work towards the Sustainable Development Goals as they relate to health. Experience India’s rich culture and learn about medical practices and health in rural and urban settings. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, explore Thailand’s work towards the SDGs as they relate to health as well. Learn about the role elephants play in the Thai culture while also exploring rural health and culture and learning from experts at Chiang Mai University.  Both courses travel over winter break and then have 7 weeks of class together at UMN in the beginning of spring semester.