Stories of Impact

An Educational Experience

Opportunity Fund Experiential Learning

Nursing student inspired by African field school

September 1, 2018

For two weeks in May under the hot African sun in Zambia, Hannah Magee learned about major health issues and gained insight into analyzing health situations, and how people come together to plan, implement, and evaluate health promotion responses. This included an understanding of women and girls who experience gender-based violence and how communities are focused on reducing child marriages and teen pregnancies.

“It was so inspiring to be a part of,” said Magee, a University of Northern British Columbia fourth-year nursing student. “The amount of knowledge I gained from the experience was incredible.

“It’s the highlight of my undergraduate degree and it definitely reminded me of why I enrolled in nursing.”

Magee was part of a two-week field school in Zambia (April 30 to May 11, 2018), with a focus on health, social capital, and community sustainability.

The Zambia Field School was organized by UNBC and led by Dr. Sylvia Barton, Chair of the School of Nursing, and Dr. Gene Krupa, Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta, and involved two UNBC students, including Magee and Emily Aase (social work) and three other health sciences students from the College of New Caledonia and the University of Alberta.

Magee and Aase participated in the field school thanks to University donors such as yourself who contributed to the UNBC Opportunity Fund.

The field school focuses on interaction with local experts, reflection, group discussion and a course project. Learners develop knowledge and skills related to interdisciplinary and intersectoral approaches to create positive, sustainable change. Barton and Krupa leverage connections with professors in the health sciences from the University of Zambia, and collaborators from NGO’s in Lusaka (capital) and Mongu (Western province).

It involved hearing stories from families and youth who live in poverty and are vulnerable to HIV, and who have experienced family violence and loss of a parent.

Insightful visits to community agencies, clinics, hospitals, and schools as well as group discussions allowed the students to reflect on their experiences and generate new ideas and possibilities to address challenges experienced in Zambia or Canada or both.

It’s those experiences that inspired Magee, who grew up in Mackenzie B.C., to pursue opportunities as a travelling nurse, working in international locations and participating in future health-science related research trips.

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