Student Mobility and Research Capacity: A Global Health Experience




Biomedical Research, Capacity Building, Education, Continuing, International Educational Exchange, Students, Medical


Global South countries struggle to train and retain researchers and practitioners to address local, regional, and global health challenges. Therefore, it is necessary to train a new generation of Global South scientists adequately, aiming to develop these low- and middle-income countries’ research capacity. In this regard, international student mobility fosters collaboration among institutions and promotes global health education while building capacity. The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) operates the largest student-run medical exchange program worldwide, providing research exchange programs since 1991. This article aims to report the experience of a Brazilian medical student, a Global South country, in Germany, a Global North country in an IFMSA research exchange.

The 4-week research exchange occurred in February of 2020 at the Medical Faculty of Ruhr Universität Bochum in Bochum, Germany. The student assisted on various research projects at the institution's neurophysiology department. Educational activities also included journal clubs, lectures, workshops, and a conference. All activities were in English and under supervision. In terms of assessment, the student work was detailed in a logbook, which was shared with supervisors.

During the exchange experience, the student learned through being exposed to different environments, people, and scientific methodologies. This resulted in the acquisition and improvement of research-related skills including research design and implementation, ethics, and professionalism, besides fostering intercultural learning. Additionally, this report demonstrates how student mobility fosters more collaborative environments and enhances scientific and networking possibilities.


Metrics Loading ...


Kim JU, Oleribe O, Njie R, Taylor-Robinson S. A time for new north-south relationships in global health. Int J Gen Med. 2017 Nov 7; 10:401–8.

Reidpath DD, Allotey P. The problem of “trickle-down science” from the Global North to the Global South. BMJ Glob Heal. 2019 July 24;4(4):2–4.

Rev Fapesp. O impacto da circulação de cérebros. Available from: Last updated September 12, 2019; cited May 3, 2021

Mews C, Schuster S, Vajda C, Lindtner-Rudolph H, Schmidt LE, Bösner S, et al. Cultural competence and global health: Perspectives for medical education – Position paper of the GMA committee on cultural competence and global health. GMS J Med Educ. 2018 Aug 15;35(3):1–17.

Pierre M, Moreno V, Challita C, Trejo A, Dirul D, Estokova J. Manual Academic Quality in SCORE. 1st ed. Copenhage: International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA); 2020.

Brown M, Boateng EA, Evans C. Should I stay or should I go? A systematic review of factors that influence healthcare students’ decisions around study abroad programmes. Nurse Educ Today. 2016 April 28;39:63–71.

White MT, Satterfield CA, Blackard JT. Essential competencies in global health research for medical trainees: A narrative review. Med Teach. 2017 May 14;39(9):945–53.

Franzen SRP, Chandler C, Lang T. Health research capacity development in low and middle income countries: Reality or rhetoric? A systematic meta-narrative review of the qualitative literature. BMJ Open. 2017 Jan 17;7(1).



How to Cite

Campos, L. N., & Rocha, S. W. S. (2021). Student Mobility and Research Capacity: A Global Health Experience. International Journal of Medical Students, 9(3), 237–239.

Most read articles by the same author(s)