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Master's degree student Amanda: "An international perspective on health care"

Student interview with Amanda Talmadge — a student in the Degree Programme of Global Development and Management in Health Care.

​News 30.10.2018

North Carolina native and master's degree student Amanda Talmadge's path to studies at Laurea has not perhaps been the most typical. Amanda worked as an ER nurse for 15 years before putting her home in the United States up for sale and moving with her husband and three children to Finland to begin studies here. She has now completed her first semester of studies in Laurea's Master's Degree Programme of Global Development and Management in Health Care, which is taught in English.

- I had never even visited Finland before attending the entrance examinations, but I fell in love right away with Laurea's pragmatic and applied approach to teaching, Ms Talmadge recounts.

In the end, the decision to move to Finland was an easy one, and my family has settled in well here.

Very international group of students

Amanda Talmadge feels that the Finnish way of learning differs a great deal from her previous studies in the United States. However, she feels that the practical and independent approach to studying is especially suited for adult students, who are very motivated and self-managing.

- I have learned a great deal while here, and I am enthusiastic to learn more, she says. 
- Now, with the work experience I've gained, I am able to better see ways in which the things I have learned can be applied in practice. This makes learning assignments feel more rewarding and enjoyable.

The group of students Amanda is a part of has also been important with regard to learning. In addition to two Finns, the group includes students from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Nepal, Columbia and Poland.

- This diverse group offers a very global perspective on all our discussions, which reinforces the international approach of our studies, Ms Talmadge describes.

Research on children's wellbeing in India

According to Ms Talmadge, the first semester of studies in the Global Development and Management in Health Care programme has included ethical leadership studies. The studies have also included themes related to global health, such as sanitation and combating communicable diseases. These themes have also influenced Amanda Talmadge's future career plans:

- When I started my studies, my focus was more on health care management. Now, that I have learned more about how civil society operates around the world, I have grown more interested in the themes of global health care, she says.

A project related to this aspect, saw Talmadge and a group of other Laurea students as well as teachers visit India in January. Laurea University of Applied Sciences coordinates FINDIgATE- the Finnish and Indian Wellbeing through Education project, in which participants study education and children's well-being in Finland and India.

During the two weeks in India, we were able to meet preschoolers and pupils from the lower classes in comprehensive school, and interview Indian children on matters related to well-being, Amanda explains.

- While in India, I carried out research related to my Master's thesis. I compared the nutritional and health-related decisions made by children in India and Finland. The trip to India was very eye-opening and informative not only from a professional perspective, but also e.g. with regard to learning about intercultural communication.

Insight into the Finnish health care system

Master's degree studies in health care in Finland have given Amanda Talmadge great insight into the Finnish health care system. As many study assignments include a comparison of the Finnish system to those of other countries, as a foreigner Amanda has to pay special focus to studying the Finnish system.

How much of a culture shock has the move from the southern United States to Finland been for Talmadge?

My advice to anyone moving to Finland is to be open-minded and flexible, she says.

- Finnish culture is very different from American culture, and it is not as easy to get to know people. This is in no way personal, but a question of culture. It is easy to get close to Finnish people, but it just requires a bit more work.