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Savonlinna, Finland

Clinical Experiences:

Savonlinna - Community and Public Health – clinics, home visits, school nursing (different than US).
Kuopio University Hospital- various units.

Finnish nursing students and faculty interchange with planned activities, including discussion of health care systems, global health care issues, and collaborative simulations.

Rovaniemi (Arctic Circle) & Fazer Factory Clinic – Occupational and Agricultural Health experiences.

Culture Experiences:

Staying in the historic 105 year old, Sinnetalo "The Blue House" with Finnish physician, Leena Kosmo.

Ovalinna Castle, forest walks, cooking, Finnish traditions, swimming, sauna, rowing, cycling and local concerts.

Rovoneima, Lapland: Artic Circle excursion, Reindeer family farm, and Finnish Santa Claus.

Other Experiences:

Historical sites related to cultural experiences.

About The Program

This cultural learning adventure has students traveling between two very different countries, cultures and health care systems. Finland has been ranked very high for healthcare in the European Union countries, especially in the public health arena. Contrastingly in Prague, Czech Republic they have a unique health care system with unique challenges post communism. There is a large focus on the political and social determinants of health with corresponding activities. Scheduled activities for each day. You can expect that the schedule will change as we go through the day (much like life). Flexibility is absolutely essential. You have to be prepared to have your walking shoes on, prepared to work and have fun, and have your eyes and minds open to keep up on this high pace experie


“I felt that overall being able to stay at Leena's house I was able to realize and become involved in the Finnish culture. From "rinsing" showers and saunas, learning how to waltz in the front room, I really felt that I was able to more fully understand the Finnish lifestyle and try to "live like a Finn" if you will. I loved being able to take time to appreciate the beauty around me, and realize the peace and comfort it brings to enjoy nature and a simpler way of life. It helped me to see that faster and the "American" way isn't always better, and that it is important to note other people's beliefs and concerns when providing health care, because all of those little cultural things really influence the person and their way of life. I hope that I will be able to take into account these cultural aspects and really address my patients' concerns and needs as I am culturally competent in my practice.” -Laura S.

"My attitudes have been changed through so many experiences I’ve had in the Czech Republic and Finland. One of the biggest attitude changes I have had relates to our acceptance of the human body in both Czech Republic and Finland, but more so in Finland. They embrace the human body much more fully than we do. I think that maybe the Finnish practice of sauna contributes a lot to this or maybe their love of the outdoors. They don’t judge shapes and sizes so much in their culture. In our culture you are judged for being 5 lbs overweight. Here you are just accepted for being a person.

I left thinking America had the best healthcare in the world…I went to countries where I actually saw ways that we could improve. I believe there are a lot of health practices that could benefit the United States if we changed. One of the biggest problems I now see with the US healthcare is that we are problem solvers, not people solvers….

Often times healing is most needed on the heart.

In the United States, we are in such a rush all the time that we forget to stop and give people the healing experience. " -Brooke S.

"Before this trip I assumed the US had the best healthcare in the world. But coming to Finland and learning about some of their techniques really opened my eyes…One example is the role of the school nurse is much more important. The school nurse will do the routine check-up every year. Also, the kids for some reason really trust her/him. They go to them to ask questions about their health or sexual health. There really is a great relationship between them and you can tell the school nurse really loves each of her patients. Seeing this in Finland, changed my attitude and opened my naïve eyes." -Genevieve V.

“I realized that it is important to not only teach people about health care, but to learn from people as well. I learned that all people have something to offer, no matter their country, status, or circumstance. From the Finnish people I learned and saw in practice that health is much more than physical health. In the U.S., there seems to be a strong focus on physical health. In Finland, people were equally as concerned about emotional, mental, and spiritual health. While in Russia, I observed and learned about the things that they struggle with in that country. I realized that after the fall of Communism, the country greatly struggled. It occurred to me how important it is to help and also learn from people, no matter what state they may be in. After visiting each country, I saw both the good and bad in the different health care systems. It caused me to re-analyze the U.S. healthcare system and things that can be better. I believe that it is important for people to learn and grow. Through this course, I learned and experienced first-hand that as all people are children of God, it is important to learn and grow together and help improve the lives and health of everyone”