The Texas A&M University Global Emergency Response students successfully completed their study abroad program at AIB by presenting their projects works. Madyson S. and Matthew K. describe their projects, focus of study and final presentations as follows:
"The final presentations included the combined work of three groups of Texas A&M students, each addressing the transboundary movements of people, public health, and response and preparedness. Each of these groups approached the topic from a unique perspective, focusing on climate change, population movement and communication. Top scholars and professionals in European and international institutions, agencies and organizations provided detailed information on their unique aspects and role in transboundary emergency response and preparedness. The final product presents a well-considered analysis of the information gathered from these professionals in addition to the current situation in both Germany and other European nations. The combination of viewpoints from guest lecturers to individual students and group interpretation provides an unparalleled presentation discussing public health preparedness and response in transboundary emergencies under three main categories: affected populations; economic and political issues involved in the movement of people; and interprofessional and health systems.
Climate change is becoming a more present threat to the world and continues to have detrimental effects on populations globally. The first group was specifically interested in the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters as well as at-risk populations affected by these disasters, what types of infectious diseases become of transboundary concern and how they are managed, how proper nutrition can be delivered and consumed by a range of different populations, the socially vulnerable populations and supportive measures for them, and what is required for transboundary cooperation both intranationally and internationally. While nations have managed these issues before, climate change is now intensifying the circumstances that follow. As natural disasters become more frequent and more intense, infectious diseases are challenging modern public health practices, population movement is overwhelming resources, and food security, as well as armed conflict, is negatively impacting large populations of people. Countries and communities around the world must begin implementing adaptive management strategies to adjust to the new threats that climate change presents.
The movement of peoples internationally has numerous impacts and repercussions, whether motivated by economics, climate change, or conflict. The second group discusses populations in movement; populations which are most vulnerable and how food insecurity, economic instability, and armed conflicts can cause these people to flee. Additionally there is consideration about the impact of the departure of these individuals from their country of origin; what are the economic costs to the country of destination, in terms of aid to individuals, costs to the health care systems, and the economic impacts of infectious disease resulting from this movement. Consideration is made on the systems which might be put in place to affect the threat of infectious disease, both at destination as well as in transit. And the group looks at current methods of international humanitarian aid offered to internally displaced persons and how the forced movement of people within their origin country may be mitigated through incorporating civil-military relations. Overall, Germany has been remarkably welcoming to populations seeking refuge, and there are lessons to be learned from the systems put in place to address the influx of people.
During an emergent situation, communication between interprofessional and health systems is essential for efficient transboundary preparedness and response. Through various circumstances, different organizations and agencies provide diverse contributions towards population movement, armed conflict, natural disasters, infectious diseases, and food security. Within these subject matters, the third group demonstrates the significance of preparation and communication in times of crisis. The group takes their expertise from the United States and compares it to their newfound knowledge of the German health system to understand the different mechanisms of emergency management. Universal communication is a perceived necessity; however, through research, this group has found that it lacks its maximum potential. Interprofessional and health systems become vital for emergency management, especially when working together and considering transboundary crises.
This past month, the Texas A&M students have been tasked with addressing public health preparedness and response in transboundary emergencies within the effects and influences of affected populations, economic and political issues, and in interprofessional and health systems. Through navigation of the vast information presented, each student was able to relate it back to their group, uncovering unique angles to transboundary emergency management. It is with these presentations that the students hope to showcase their takeaways and changed perspectives that have been shaped during their time in Germany"-
Congrats to everyone on their hard work and great presentations!
A big THANK YOU to all our programs that were part of the first AIB summer session in Bonn.
We hope you all had a great time and won't forget what you experienced and learned here.
Butler Media Texas A&M German Languange & Culture and
Lafayette College German Immersion
Texas A&M Health LMU Summer
Texas A&M History of Medicine Texas A&M Sustainable Communities
Thank you, Lauren, for your account of your time abroad with AIB and the Texas A&M Health program!
"When I initially signed up to participate in a study abroad program with AIB, I had no idea the impact that it would have on my life. I was just excited to go to Europe and travel on the free weekends. Luckily for me, I was able to experience that and so much more.
By living with a host family and using public transportation to commute to school, I was fully immersed in the German culture and able to build life-lasting relationships with my host home family, program coordinator, and AIB student workers.
My host home parents were incredible human beings. I turned 20 in the middle of my program, and they made me a birthday picnic with cake and presents. I never expected to feel so loved and celebrated 5,000 miles away from home. My program allowed three weekends to freely travel in Europe, but I chose to stay in Bonn the last weekend to spend more time with my host family, and I am so grateful that I did! We biked along the Rhine River, hiked to see beautiful scenery, went to church together, attended an outdoor concert, and cooked barbeque at their son’s farm. That weekend in Bonn was my favorite of the whole trip.
Thankfully, the relationships didn’t end there. The AIB student workers were so friendly and always eager to help. My program coordinator was nothing short of greatness. He didn’t treat our group like we were his job, but he treated us as friends. The day our program ended, we all went separate ways to different airports and destinations, and he was officially off of the clock, but he stayed and helped everyone get to where they needed to be, even though his job didn’t require him and he wasn’t getting paid for it.
My time in Bonn exceeded all of my expectations; I never expected to love it as much as I did. I left with tears in my eyes and gratitude overflowing in my heart. Thank you, AIB, for the best five weeks of my life!"
Halfway through their adventure in Germany, Lafayette College German students found themselves on a week-long excursion to Austria. They spent three days in beautiful Vienna, exploring the historical and cultural metropolis, and then made their way to the „Wachau Cultural Landscape“, a valley west of Vienna with a picturesque landscape formed by the Danube river.
This is how student Dan W. experienced the excursion:
"Traveling to Vienna was a fantastic experience, as the city was beautiful and we were able to experience so much of the city in such a short period of time. One was able to immerse completely in Viennese culture, and it was incredibly easy to get around the city and see all of the noteworthy sites. Although I greatly enjoyed our time in the city, I personally think that the Wachau portion of our Austria excursion was especially wonderful. Specifically, the day on which we rented bikes was my favorite day of the entire trip thus far. We had very beautiful, if not slightly too-hot, weather the entire trip, and this day was especially beautiful. I love riding bikes, but I’ve never been able to ride a bike in such a beautiful place before. It was very surreal being able to ride along a path with mountains and ruins of castles on one side and the beautiful river and towns on the other. The vineyards which we biked through were also extremely beautiful, and the entire landscape we saw was just incredibly aesthetic. All of the stops we made along the bike ride were very interesting and scenic, and I learned a lot about the region while also having a lot of fun. I especially loved being able to hike on this day, as hiking and exploring/adventuring are some of my favorite things to do. The ruins of the old castle were very neat and cool to climb around on, and the view from the top of the mountain was incredible. Standing upon the castle, one was able to see the entire valley and all the way to the horizon in every direction. Overall, I loved the entire visit to Wachau, as it felt like a truly immersive and different experience as compared to what we have experienced thus far. I loved feeling separated from society and the city, and I especially loved being able to be so active and involved in nature."
The AIB summer programs are in full swing with some students already headed back home. However, a few programs are still on their summer study abroad adventure. The Texas A&M University Sustainable Communities program spent two days in Rotterdam to learn about green and sustainable practices.
This is how student Kyle M. describes the excursion:
“My trip to Rotterdam was just another great learning opportunity on this amazing month-long journey. Rotterdam’s skyline architecture, sustainability practices, and resilience measures are something like I haven’t seen before. From the simplest hostel to the twisting high rises, their design is something unique and beautiful. Green roofs and permeable surfaces scatter the landscape for rainwater capture, and bike lanes litter the landscape for a source of clean transportation. Finally, The Maeslant Barrier and other flood prevention actions like it can only be described as highly innovative and otherworldly in scale. Even the city itself and its people seemed very friendly and inviting with old town main streets that will remind anyone of home. Rotterdam has chosen to lead the way on these fronts and are a model for others to follow. There, the future is priority and that can be seen every single day. Whether it’s the social consciousness of its people or actions carried out by the city itself it’s apparent that longevity is the mission. Going green is just their tool.
Opportunities to see these sorts of places do not come often, and I’m beyond thankful for a university who partners with such an extraordinary program to give us these opportunities. Taking back what I’ve learned in my time here is a life-changing experience, and I can’t wait to share my newfound knowledge back home!”
PC: Tristan L. PC: Tristan L.
PC: Matthew U.