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On Exchange: Global Health Student Jaspreet Nannar in Norway

MSc Global Health program student Jaspreet Nannar

MSc Global Health program student Jaspreet Nannar on exchange in Norway


February 28, 2018

When MSc Global Health student Jaspreet Nannar learned about the program’s international exchange to University College of Southeast Norway (USN), she jumped at the opportunity. “It offered a chance to step outside my comfort zone and embrace a different culture,” explains Nannar, who has been living and studying in Tønsberg since January.

Made possible by funding from a High North program grant, the area of concentration on offer at USN – Global transitions within local communities. Small places, big changes – focuses on issues including migrant populations, the welfare state, and challenges in local communities. And Nannar says it has opened her eyes to global health problems she had not previously explored.

Prior to starting the global health program, Nannar completed an Honours BSc in McMaster’s Life Sciences program, with a minor in Economics. She then worked at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Ottawa, where she focused on the growing global crisis of antimicrobial resistance, working as an intern and an analyst.

Since arriving in Norway, she has had the opportunity develop an understanding of other critical global health problems and the underlying factors that lead to disparities in terms of health care.

“Coming from a science background, I’ve always had a technical perspective on issues concerning healthcare,” Nannar explains. “But I’ve learned to take a holistic approach to critically appraise global health concerns, and I’ve realized the importance of also considering the socio-cultural factors that may influence patients’ choices,” she says.

For her final project this term, Nannar will be examining a local challenge faced by a migrant population. Her group will travel to Oslo to visit a reception center, where they will interview health professionals about the specific health challenges faced by pregnant asylum seekers from Eritrea in East Africa.

“I hope to use the knowledge I’ve gained over the course of this semester to provide care to marginalized communities and further develop my understanding of the underlying factors that lead to disparities,” Nannar says.

Aside from her academic learning, highlights of the exchange have included the opportunity to learn a new language, and a visit to Tromsø in northern Norway, where she travelled with a group of peers. “We watched the northern lights dancing in the sky, and it was one of those moments you’ll remember for a lifetime,” says Nannar.

She credits the exchange with helping her strengthen her skills in communication and teamwork, having worked with students from Norway, Germany, Netherlands and Ireland.

Looking to her future after graduation, Nannar hopes to attend medical school and one day practice medicine at an international level with Doctors without Borders.