Korean exchange students wrap up whirlwind nursing exchange experience

Four Korean nursing students join Radford faculty and students for a social get together.
As part of their cultural exchange, four Korean nursing students joined their American colleagues, nursing faculty and friends for a dinner and Super Bowl watch party.

Four Korean nursing students who spent two weeks with Radford colleagues bid a fond and reflective farewell on Feb. 18 in Cook Hall with a wrap-up presentation.

Representing Yonsei University’s College of Medicine in Wonju, Doyeon Lee, Hyeonuk Jeong, Haesun Lee and Hyemi Ham spent their between-semesters break immersed in the American health care system and culture.

“It was like the eye of a typhoon,” said Jeong about his international educational opportunity at Radford University during which he observed American nursing roles, nursing education and health care system.   He and his colleagues attended nursing classes at Radford and made six clinical visits to hospitals and rehab centers in Roanoke and Radford. They also experienced some distinctly American traditions – the Super Bowl, the Floyd Country Store and snow days.

“I live in a big city,” said Haesun Lee, who had never seen American football, but quickly got into the spirit. “It was awesome to be invited to neighbors’ houses. Everyone has been very friendly and warm.”

In the classroom, the visitors were struck by a unique vibe.

“There is a much different atmosphere here.  Students can ask questions and the professors try to motivate students.  It is much more student-centered,” said Ham. “Students are motivated by learning more than just procedures and professors are there to help them.”

At Radford, the clinical simulation center was a highlight for Doyeon Lee.

“The many sim experiences enabled us to experience things directly,” she said.

Before returning to Korea for their final semester that begins in March, the foursome briefed more than 20 faculty, students and guests on the national health care system in their homeland.

Central to the American health care system is the role of insurance, said Jeong.  He added that in the Korean culture, family plays a prominent role in augmenting the national health care system’s healing and caring functions.

After comparing the sites they visited and the different ways nurses are trained, Jeong noted, “Nursing is tough no matter where you are from.”

To transcend cultures and study international health care, Radford University Assistant Nursing Professors Linda Ely and Eunyoung Lee will lead a Spring 2017 return trip to study the Korean health care delivery system from an American point of view.

“We can learn from other approaches and cultures,” said Lee.  “The chance to explore, experience and share with practitioners who approach health/disease and clinical practice from different cultural aspects is a valuable opportunity throughout all specialties.”

For more information, contact Lee at 540-831-7711 or elee7@radford.edu or Ely at 540-831-7186 or ltely@radford.edu.  

Mar 1, 2016