This is the story of my 6 months of studying in Arizona in 2010 and subsequent travels in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Settling into the school work

Two more school days past, with success so far. :) I like the courses I am taking - let me give you an overview:

Quality Improvement
This is my wake-up call Monday and Wednesday mornings starting at 8 AM with a 50 min lecture with all the 2nd year pharmacy students. We will be looking into how we as pharmacists can prevent medication errors from happening, and this course is a great opportunity for me to compare the American and Danish system, and thus uncover strengths and weaknesses. For instance it has been an eye-opener to me that American (and apparently other countries as well) do not have indications (the diagnosis) written on prescriptions, which could in many cases eliminate errors. In this course we always have homework assignments or little tests in the classes, which is very different from what I am used to!

Health Services Research Methods
Also very different what my Danish experiences, this is a "real" graduate course... We are 4 (four!) students in the class, so we sit around a small table and discuss the topic of the day! We will be looking into how one can identify good vs. bad research, and how to conduct good research and surveys ourselves. A bit of statistics and a lot of method, maybe a little dry, but I think it will be useful! And since I have already dropped my Biostatistics course, I think I'd better follow this one closely...! :)

Public Health Policy and Management
Im not exactly sure what to expect from this course yet, but it might give me a good insight to the American health care system and policy making, which can be really useful for me later on. This is a class for public health students, so they have a different background than me (besides of course the culture!), but I think its a strength. We are divided in groups of 5 people who will work together on assignments and cases in the classes - will be interesting to see how it goes.

Strategic planning
This last course I haven't had classes in yet, since its Thursday afternoon. But I met the professor, Dr. Schloss, as I have described earlier and I am looking forward to see what the course is like in action! I know im interested in the content that he described for me, but honestly the book thats linked with the course is not one of my favorites. More inputs for my impression tomorrow!

So thats about it... And I find myself really attempting to be a "good" student here, not just for the grades which might be important if I wanna do a PhD in the future, but also because I dont wanna be surprised by a pop quiz or whatever they might come up with! So I have already located some nice study places around campus, and is meeting Chris and Hillary just to hang out for studying. Its really nice actually - this is not something I did a lot in Denmark, besides when we were doing reports and stuff. But then we were forced to working together as a group, here its voluntary. Good company, and nice when I need translation of certain phrases!

Earlier today and yesterday I was in the library, where there is like a super-quiet study hall with chairs and tables that can be moved around and stuff. But what I really like is the view of the mountains and the campus! Yesterday there was a huge thunderstorm while I was there, lightning hitting all around and thunder setting car alarms off. The rain was really pouring down, and surprisingly there was hail as well! In the desert... What will you know!

Now I just came back from a pharmacy "social" where all new students in Pharmaceutical Sciences was presented. It's a little weird, since I actually dont really belong anywhere, but still nice to be taken care of from there. :) I was presented as the international student who has been working with EPSA a lot and who chose UA not just for the academics, but also for the extracurricular activities offered! Well... I still think thats an important aspect! :)

The rest of the evening I will spend with Hillary and Chris in my kitchen, catching up on some Strategic Planning and maybe some Statistics before heading to bed. Work work work... :D

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