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Global Health Students Collaborate and Build Camaraderie on Canoe Trip

Global Health Students Collaborate and Build Camaraderie on Canoe Trip

MSc Global Health students gather for a canoe trip along the Grand River.


September 8, 2017

Each year, the incoming Master of Science in Global Health students participate in a quintessential Canadian experience that’s also a team-building exercise: a canoe trip.

This year’s cohort spent yesterday navigating the Grand River and exploring the surrounding area.

“Most Canadians will have been in a canoe before, but for others this represents a significant cultural experience,” explains Andrea Baumann, director of the Global Health program at McMaster.

Academic advisor and program alumnus David Hill says the students welcomed the challenge, despite the weather. “While some of the first-time canoeists were a bit uncomfortable, stepping into that uncomfortable space is how we grow. And no amount of rain could dampen the students’ spirits.”

“I think this canoe excursion is representative of what our journey in the program will be like,” says student AJ Patel.  “We encountered obstacles along the way – like two students hitting a rock, which bent their canoe in half – through teamwork and collaboration we made it to the end,” adds student Tolu Olufadeji.

The MSc Global Health program has prioritized collaboration since it launched in 2010. A joint offering with Maastricht University in the Netherlands, the program now spans five continents and seven countries.

Throughout the program, students work together in transcontinental, transdisciplinary teams, and must learn to adapt quickly to complex work environments, overcoming communication and cultural barriers.

“The program is fluid and forward-thinking, responsive and proactive. The annual canoe trip kicks things off in the right direction and sets the tone for the year ahead,” says Baumann.