USA Study Abroad is a Finalist for National Award

Posted on May 24, 2022 by Joy Washington
Joy Washington

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Developed in the fall of 2021, South's Remote Medical Spanish in Ecuador program is a requirement for the Spanish for Healthcare Professionals Graduate Certificate.

The University of South Alabama Office of International Education and Study Abroad’s Remote Medical Spanish in Ecuador program with Kaya Responsible Travel is a finalist for the GoAbroad Innovation Volunteer Award. The winner of the category will be announced at the GoAbroad reception during the annual conference to be held June 2, 2022.

The Remote Medical Spanish in Ecuador program was developed as the fall 2021 capstone experience for the Spanish for Healthcare Professionals Graduate Certificate.

“We are excited to be named a finalist in the GoAbroad Innovation Awards,” said Dr. Zoya Khan, director of the certificate program and associate professor of Spanish. “I wanted our students to have an international experience, but due to COVID during the summer of 2021, it was difficult to travel. I reached out to the Office of International Education and Study Education for help with funding a virtual experience.”

Dr. Bri Ard, USA director of International Education and Study Abroad and a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bucharest, was able to connect Khan with Kaya Responsible Travel to create the Remote Medical Spanish Ecuador program.

“We were able to create three components with assisting local physician Dr. Ahmed Isa in his telehealth practice providing medical consultations to the Zambiza suburb of Quito, Ecuador,” Khan said. “The second component was to conduct community health workshops on topics such as diabetes, nutrition, obesity and cardiovascular diseases for people of that area; and third, students attended workshops on cultural and public health topics organized by Kaya’s Quito office.”

Overall, the components for the program include the following objectives: language proficiency, cultural competency, telemedicine and global health experience.  

“I was elated when Dr. Khan approached me with the idea of the Remote Medical Spanish in Ecuador Program,” Ard stated. “This program is innovative in that it allows for our students to engage in immersive experiences in which they can develop not only language skills but also international competencies, without leaving home. It opens the door for how we think about global engagement and what opportunities we can offer to USA students.”

The GoAbroad Innovation Awards were established to showcase the best in innovation, originality, creativity and exceptional ideas in international education. The national winners of the award are selected by a prestigious and selective group of international education professionals known as the Innovation Awards Academy.

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