July 7, 2014

Andrian is a rising senior goalie on the men’s soccer team and traveled to China for his study-abroad program this past May. A native of Oberlin, Ohio, Andrian has been studying public health at Ohio State and decided on China because of its enormous population that varies drastically depending on location in the country. Andrian has created a personalized study program as his major, which has allowed him to incorporate classes from exercise science, nutrition and public health. In his study abroad program, Andrian attended lectures, speaking with students who attend the University of Dalian, China where he will spend the majority of his time.

“Studying Public Health at OSU, I really wanted the study abroad program that I got involved in to reflect what I’ve been learning in classes and would allow me to apply my skills to the real world in an area I haven’t seen before. Spending time in China will be a wonderful experience and I hope to gain a better understanding of their culture, how public health is viewed in their society, and how the role of health care in general compares to ours in the United States.”

Journal 6: June 22, 2014
Now that I’ve returned to the States and have had time to reflect on my trip, I’m beginning to realize just how important and educational it was.  While we didn’t spend as much time in the classroom as I thought, I learned so much about public health and Chinese society while I was there, just through my experiences and observations.  The day to day interactions with the local people and their ways of life, were something that you just can’t get in any classroom or even in the United States.

I’ve made new friends both from OSU and in Dalian, China that I hope will become long term relationships that I can continue to learn from and thrive in.  The people I met in China were always friendly, outgoing and helpful.  While the transition was difficult in getting used to life in China, I feel that by the end I had adjusted to the culture, food, and daily activities that would have made it possible to stay there for a much longer period of time. 

Since I’ve been back, the way I’ve been able to describe China and what my experience was like, has always been in a positive way.  I think that studying abroad is an invaluable experience and one that everyone can benefit from.  The experiences I had, people I met, places I went, and perspective I gained all helped me become a well-rounded person.  I hope that I have many more similar opportunities in the future as I hope to do public health work around the globe.  For now, I look forward to returning to my life at Ohio State and continuing to study public health while getting ready for the fall soccer season.

Journal 5: May 27, 2014
As we come to the last week of the study abroad experience in Dalian, China, I look forward to giving my final report on Vitamin D deficiency and the effects its prevalence has on Chinese society. There is a startlingly high percentage of the population living with Rickets disease, which is typical of severe Vitamin D deficiency. Other people in our group have already presented on topics such as oral health, vehicle safety, and air pollution, all of which have been very informative and interesting.

Today we had the opportunity to tour a hospital in downtown Dalian and speak with one of the cardiologists. It was great to hear her opinion on topics such as Western vs. Traditional Chinese medicine, physician-patient relationships and health insurance. Getting to see the cardiology and urology departments as well as the inpatient rooms was great because I could compare it to what I’ve been able to witness in the States. Overall I have to say that the employees (doctors, RN’s, etc.) were very impressive and seemed as though they are very qualified. However, the facilities were very underwhelming compared to hospitals in the United States.

We are heading back to campus now and will hopefully be seeing the area where they train seeing eye dogs to assist the blind. Afterword I hope to get in a quick workout and then join a few of the international students I met a few days ago in a pickup soccer game. I’m sure these last few days will be just as exciting and memorable as the previous couple of weeks.
Until next time,

Journal 4: May 22, 2014
Being back on DMU’s campus, this week has been more regulated and traditional then the time we spent in Beijing. We traveled to visit the EPA in downtown Dalian yesterday, where we learned about the water and air pollution in China. This was very interesting because of the statistical data they provided, which allowed us to compare different regions of China. It is clear that both of these areas need to see improvements, especially in highly industrialized cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

The lectures have been very informative, covering topics like cervical cancer and the burden of disease on mortality rates. During my free time I’ve been able to spend more time with the local student body and continue to learn more about Chinese culture. We have actually set up a basketball game for later today, which I am really looking forward to (I’ll see if I can get a soccer game going at some point).

This weekend we will be participating in the school’s athletic games, in track and field events as well as other games that I have yet to be taught. It should be a fun but competitive environment, which soccer typically provides for me. On Sunday we will be taking a trip to the local zoo and I know everyone is looking forward to it.

I also have to start my final paper for the class (due Sunday), which I think will focus on vitamin D deficiency in China and the United States. I will compare the rates between the two countries and then propose reasons as to why we may see these differences. I look forward to researching this topic, provided that the information I need isn’t blocked.
Until next time,

Journal 3: May 19, 2014
I haven’t written in a while because I spent the weekend in Beijing with a group of students from the study abroad program and we didn’t have internet access. It was an amazing time and we got to see a lot of tourist attractions like the Great Wall and Forbidden City. It was nice to relax and simply take in the cultural experience that the trip constantly provided.

While it was a fun time and I enjoyed most of it, the weekend also allowed me to witness a few of China’s biggest public health problems like air pollution, poverty and general cleanliness. The smog in the city was unbelievable and by the end of the trip I was excited to get back to Dalian if for no other reason than being able to breathe clean air again. Observing the population, I noticed the prominence of unsanitary living conditions and surroundings accompanied and perpetuated by poverty.

Besides getting to see the sites, we also toured silk, jade, and pearl factories, ate at a variety of delicious restaurants, and spent time exploring the city on foot (which included a trip to some of the 2008 Beijing Olympic sites that was both inspiring and exhilarating).

Now that we are headed back to Dalian for the remainder of this study abroad program, I look forward to focusing on public health and becoming more familiar with how it is viewed in China. This has been a rewarding experience so far and I know that I’m gaining valuable practice in being immersed in a foreign culture and adjusting to their way of life. The local people and Dalian University students have helped make this possible in a very pleasant way and I intend to absorb as much as possible. 
Until next time,

Journal 2: May 15, 2014
The last two days have been very busy but really informative and fun. We’ve had a few lectures that focused on infectious vs. chronic disease and how the patterns of mortality have changed over the last few decades. Dalian is a city that is seeing some very rapid changes, becoming more industrialized due to the countries expanding economy, which is obvious in the construction of new projects everywhere we go.

Today we traveled off campus into the city of Dalian, visiting a local health center and then the Dalian Center for Disease Control (CDC). Both experiences were great and it was very interesting to compare what we saw there with what we know in the United States.

So far the food has been good for the most part, though I am not an adventurous eater so I haven’t tried some of the more exotic looking dishes. It’s definitely a culture shock but I feel as though I’ve already been here a month. The weather has been perfect and I hope it stays that way as we have planned a trip to Beijing for the weekend. I look forward to continuing to learn about public health in China as well as absorbing the culture.
Until next time,

Journal 1: May 14, 2014
After traveling for about 24 hours my group and I finally reached Dalian University at around 9 p.m. on Monday, May 12th. After a good night rest we had a great first day, which consisted of an introductory lecture, tour of the university, and time spent with some of the Dalian Chinese students. We have each been assigned two “group members” (Chinese students who are proficient in English) who help us with communication as well as adjusting to life here in Dalian. They’ve been extremely helpful and I’ve enjoyed their company and getting to know them, allowing me to compare life here to what I’m used to in the States.

The time change is hard to adjust to (a full 12 hours ahead of the Eastern Time Zone) but I’m doing my best to get acclimated as quickly as possible. So far the trip has been a great experience and I can’t wait for what today will bring (I’m writing this at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning). I will continue to write journals but our days are fairly busy and we do have actual school work to do so finding the time isn’t always easy.
Until next time,