Student Mobility and Research Capacity: A Global Health Experience
Keywords: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.
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