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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Switzerland and Chile

connell school global experience

Boston College students studying in Switzerland in June 2013 take time out to enjoy the scenery.
Boston College students studying in Switzerland in June 2013 take time out to enjoy the scenery.


This four week summer elective brings together students and faculty from Boston College, Switzerland and Chile to learn collaboratively about issues on the forefront of global health.

In this course, students and faculty from around the world discuss and synthesize perspectives on global health, specifically the challenges and common connections experienced across patient centered care, health education, health care systems and policy development. The participants will develop a deeper understanding of the particular needs of diverse and underserved populations. Emphasis will be placed on social justice and health of individuals, families and populations. Through the lens of public health, this course explores assessment of health care needs, assurance of a quality health care infrastructure and development of health care policy.

This course originally began with offerings at Boston College and Switzerland in alternating years, and talks are underway to bring the course to Chile in January 2016. There will be more information on that to follow.

Connell School students and faculty have participated in several collaborations with universities in Switzerland since 2010. The most recent was in the summer of 2014 at Boston College. An official Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Cutberto Garza, provost and dean of faculties at Boston College, and Anne-Catherine Lyon, state councilor/minister for education, youth, and culture, Vaud canton, that formalized cooperation in academic exchanges, program development, and research while establishing official guiding terms and principles of collaboration among the different countries.

In the summer of 2010, six undergraduate nursing students and two faculty members participated in a Summer University program held in Lausanne, Switzerland. The program brought together nursing faculty and students from Switzerland, India, Singapore as well as California and Boston College, to discuss issues such as health care politics and policies, caring for an aging population, dying with dignity and autonomy, and adolescent mental health issues. Students were also exposed to the Swiss culture through participation in local activities and events like the Montreux Jazz Festival, Olympic Museum and Old City tours in addition to time spent in the classroom.

The Connell School hosted the program in the summer of 2012. Colleagues from Switzerland joined CSON faculty and staff in a month-long immersion course focusing on health care quality and safety, examining global ethical perspectives, exploring issues of violence around the world, and comparing different country’s approach to end of life care across the lifespan. This widely successful program was featured in the Connell School's Voice magazine.

In the summer of 2013, fourteen Boston College students and five CSON faculty participated in the month-long course in Lausanne. The theme of the course was health care for vulnerable populations, and topics such as violence, assisted suicide, addiction and aging were addressed from a global perspective. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a hospital clinical experience and tour many historic and natural sites throughout Switzerland. Read student reflections »