In Italy, USciences Students Experience a Foreign Healthcare System

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on September 16, 2019

Students study abroad in ItalyFor students looking to become leaders in healthcare, a chance to study and experience the healthcare system in Italy was invaluable. That experience was a welcome one for several students from University of the Sciences, who attended the Global Seminar Program, an 11-day trip over the summer with students from Rosemont College. 

USciences students visited Italy for this summer’s program entitled “The Business of International Healthcare and Its Effects on Patient Access,” where they learned about comparative healthcare between Italy and the United States.

Students Study Abroad in Italy“Being able to study abroad was a goal I have had since the beginning of college,” said Christopher Dolce Bio’21. “Since this program was studying healthcare, it was the perfect opportunity for me. 

Dolce would like to become an optometrist and was therefore interested in learning about the Italian healthcare system, both its positives and negatives. 

“There is no universal approach to high-quality healthcare,” said Dolce. “While healthcare is more expensive in the United States, we generally receive care right away, whereas Italians may have to wait a long time due to waitlists. Both countries experience disparities in patient access, either due to socioeconomic or geographical constraints.”

Paige Jacobs PharmD’23 said the most impactful part of the class was visiting a hospital and interviewing locals to gain a better understanding of the Italian system. 

Students Study Abroad in Italy“You simply can’t learn this by sitting in a classroom,” said Jacobs, who is an aspiring compounding or home infusion pharmacist.

The group stayed in Sorrento, a coastal town in the Campania region. They were able to visit Naples and Pompeii, where they saw Mt. Vesuvius and also learned how to make pizza and observe how limoncello and mozzarella are made.

“There are so many experiences from this trip that will stay with  me forever, but perhaps the most memorable part was when a small group of us went out to explore the nightlife in Sorrento,” said Jacobs. “It was the happiest and most carefree I have felt in a long time.”

“In addition to the interesting classes, the trip had a great balance of sightseeing activities and free time to explore the area,” said Dolce. “Being able to speak to people in a different country about their society really allows you to experience what life is like in other parts of the world.”

Students Study Abroad in ItalyFor most students in an accelerated doctorate program, taking a semester off to study abroad is impossible without delaying their degree. That is why most find this program so appealing. 

“I had been wanting to travel outside of the country and this program allowed me to do so,” said Han Le PharmD’23. “With the pharmacy curriculum I would not have been able to participate if it had been during the school year.”

The students said they learned a lot, but will remember most the friendships they made along the way.

“This was not only a great learning experience, but it was insanely fun,” said Jacobs.

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