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On exchange: Meet Global Health student Chloe Watson from Maastricht University

Maastricht exchange student Chloe Watson

Maastricht University exchange student Chloe Watson, who is spending the winter term at Mac as part of the Global Health program.

February 12, 2019

“I decided to come to McMaster because it was a brilliant opportunity to push myself outside my comfort zone, meet new people and live somewhere completely different for 3-4 months,” says exchange student Chloe Watson who is currently spending the winter term on at McMaster as part of the joint MSc Global Health program with Maastricht University.

Originally from the UK, Watson graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Biochemistry before securing a place in a graduate program at the Wellcome Trust, the UK’s largest medical research charity. There, she was introduced to science and health policy. “This experience taught me the huge impact that government policies can have on our health and how important it is that these decisions are made with solid evidence and an acknowledgement of the communities that are likely to be most affected,” explains Watson.

After two years, she moved on to the British Heart Foundation, where her work involved ensuring that policies adopted by the UK Government on air quality and tobacco control were positive for the health of people living with cardiovascular diseases.

“Working on areas such as air quality made me much more aware of the global nature of so many of the health problems that we face and the need for coordinated global action – air pollution does not obey borders!” says Watson, deciding that she wanted to broaden her experience from a UK context to gain a more global perspective on some of the health issues she had been focusing on. So she joined Maastricht University’s Global Health program – and that brought her to McMaster.

“I was particularly drawn to the health economics course because it’s an area in which I have no experience but one that can be quite helpful in policy work,” explains Watson, who chose the Global Health Management track at Mac as her field of concentration.

So far, she says her experience in Hamilton has been positive: “Everyone has been very welcoming and I’m gradually getting used to the cold and the snow!”

Overall, Watson hopes her time at McMaster will allow her to connect with new people who have diverse perspectives and backgrounds, and that she can learn more about the Canadian approach to health and health care.

“I hope that understanding these different perspectives and approaches will help me to look at things more critically and holistically when I return to the world of work,” she says.