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Immersing Students in Thai Culture and Customs

In 1994, the University of Washington's School of Nursing entered into a partnership with Thailand's Chiang Mai University to begin exchanging ideas, philosophies and research. Since then, visits by faculty and students in both directions have created an expanding network of relationships between the two schools. The partnership is one of the many ways the School of Nursing realizes its goal of promoting global involvement.

Over the years, the Chaing Mai University (CMU) partnership has fostered a continuous flow of faculty and students between the two institutions. A summer travel study program developed a collaborative program for CMU doctoral students that brings selected students to the UW for one year to develop their doctoral research. The latest exciting and innovative development has a group of senior undergraduate nursing students applying for travel visas to spend the fall 2003 quarter immersed in Thai culture.

From a base at CMU, UW Professor of Psychosocial and Community Health Marjorie Muecke and Assistant Professor of Psychosocial and Community Health Michael Kennedy, with help from CMU guest lecturers and local community leaders, will guide students through courses in community medicine and psychiatric nursing. Uniquely able to allow students to meet all their term course requirements while undertaking the 10-week international experience, the program's combination of courses and clinical coursework makes it unusual as well.

Because the undergraduate nursing curriculum is so highly structured, it has been impossible for undergraduate students to spend more than a few summer weeks abroad-until now. The semester at CMU makes international study and international health an integral part of nursing education.