The following is a dispatch from Honors Alum and current Rotary Global Grants Scholar Allysan Scatterday (’12), who is currently studying for a Master of Public Health Degree at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique (EHESP) in Paris, France:
This year, I have had the great opportunity to live and study in Paris, France as I work on my Masters in Public Health thanks to a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. After graduating from the Honors College in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in biology, I wanted to live abroad and learn more about the population-based aspects of health care before starting medical school. France seemed like the perfect fit as I had studied French at CofC and the country has a continually high ranking health care system.
My MPH program is through a partnership with the French National School of Public Health and Columbia University and University of North Carolina’s Schools of Public Health. The program’s greatest asset is its international nature, with students coming from over 20 different nations, not to mention the international faculty. I have the opportunity to learn about health care worldwide and to see global health from perspectives that I could have never imagined in the U.S..
Public health itself is an extremely diverse field of study that forces me to exercise many different areas of knowledge. One day we might be focusing on biostatistics, the next on political science and the next on sociology. I know that my background in liberal arts was helpful in preparing me for this jump from subject to subject. Being a science major but simultaneously taking classes like Western Civ or a class on opera helped me to be able to see things with a wider lens and to find passion in a multitude of disciplines, and this skill has been especially useful this year.
On top of my educational experience, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with Rotary here in France. I have a host club of 19 of the nicest French people I know. With this club, I’ve helped with charity piano concerts, eaten countless delicious French meals, and even worked the snack stand at a packed bingo night (which they call loto here). I’m also a part of a local Rotaract club (essentially Rotary for young adults). We raise money for local and international charities, visit a nursing home twice a month, and are going to Tunisia at the end of the month to help establish a new Rotaract club.
One of the most enriching parts of my experience this year is the travel that I’ve been able to do. I’m so fortunate to be so well situated and have the ability to get pretty much anywhere in Europe easily by plane, train or automobile. So far, I’ve had the opportunity visited north, south, and central France; Germany; the Netherlands; Belgium; England; the French and German Alps; and Turkey. My world continues to grow every day, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!