Campus visits and a glimpse into health education in England

Study Abroad |

The last week of the study abroad program in London included guest lectures from top-notch experts and one-of-a-kind experiences. It was the perfect way to cap off a successful inaugural program and global adventure that will stay with the students long after they return home. Program director Barret Michalec described it as “an embarrassment of riches” and that’s precisely what it was. 

The group visited the campuses of some of the most prestigious universities in the world including King’s College London, University College of London, Oxford, and the London School of Economics. 

Some of those visits included lectures from highly regarded professors, each of them sharing their expertise in different areas of the health care industry.

Andreas Xyrichis stands at the front of a classroom on the King's College London near a projector while presenting to students
 Andreas Xyrichis focused his guest lecture on interprofessional teamwork and the NHS.

At King’s College, a PLuS Alliance member along with ASU and UNSW Sydney, students heard from Andreas Xyrichis, a senior academic researcher at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care. He discussed the importance of interprofessional practice and the NHS’s workforce strategy to address some of the challenges it's facing.

Later that same day, students had the chance to visit the Florence Nightingale Museum where they learned about the life and work of the founder of modern-day nursing philosophy and perhaps one of the most recognizable names in the field. The visit was particularly meaningful to the future nurses in the study abroad program.

Three students pose in the Florence Nightingale Museum behind an oil lamp in a glass case
Edson College Nursing students Julie Martin, Esther Vargas and Carla Antypas pose behind Florence Nightingale's famous oil lamp at the Florence Nightingale Museum in London.

“We got to see the history of the “mother of nursing” and being in nursing school and learning so much about her and then being here now it’s fascinating,” Esther Vargas, a nursing major, said.

Campus tours continued with a trip to UCL, University College of London, for a guest lecture from Nora Colton, a W.P. Carey alumna who helped create and is the director of their Global Business School for Health, the world’s first business school dedicated to health.

In the middle of the week, students were introduced to Dr. Ian Williams a physician and graphic artist who taught them about graphic medicine. Dr. Williams coined the term and defines it as, “the intersection between the medium of comics and the discourse of health care.”

Students seated at long desks are leaned over drawing on a comic strip
Students participating in Dr. Williams' lecture, contributed to group comic strips.

Part of that experience included an exercise where the students created comic strips through a group exercise. The idea was to get them thinking creatively about health and the ways in which we communicate health stories.

“The lectures from our professors and all the guest lecturers have been really great,” Frances Cramer said.

To wrap up the week, the group headed to Oxford to tour some of the colleges that make up the oldest English-speaking university in the world. They learned about the university's history and the traditions that still stand today. 

Students in Edson College's study abroad program in London pose for a group photo on the streets of Oxford.
As part of the program, the students went to Oxford to explore the town and the historic university.

While visiting Oxford’s Balliol College, founded in 1263, students had the opportunity to check out their dining hall which looked like something straight out of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

Before heading home, the students visited the London School of Economics for a guest lecture from George Wharton, a senior lecturer in practice and program director at LSE’s Department of Health Policy. Wharton’s presentation focused on the reason health systems exist, how different systems are funded and trends related to global health spending. One of the things from his presentation that stuck with students was that high spending on health care doesn’t necessarily equate to better health outcomes. 

Students sit at desks at the London School of Economics while listening to a presentation by George Wharton
A visit to the London School of Economics for a guest lecture was very insightful for the students.

The last day of the program included in-class debates, which were part of a majority of the students' final grades for their course, and a farewell lunch. 

“The class itself has surpassed my expectations. This was one of my first times being exposed to health care systems in general so it’s really cool to see it through the lens of comparing the U.K. and U.S. health systems,” said Benny Aguilar, a pre-med major.

Students stand at the front of a classroom, some with laptops in their hands while carrying out an in-class debate assignment.
Students were divided into teams in order to carry out their in-class debate assignments.

In addition to soaking up the culture and learning a lot, the students all bonded with each other and the program directors, so saying goodbye was bittersweet. For Frances Cramer, an online student studying Health Care Compliance and Regulations, it was especially tough.

“I’m going to miss my classmates. I enjoyed meeting them and becoming friends with them but the hardest part of being an online student is that I’m going back to my state and they’re going back to ASU. So there are pros and cons, but we can still connect through social media,” she said.

To learn more about this program, or Edson College’s other study abroad and service learning opportunities, visit 

Students and program directors pose for a photo on the last day of the study abroad program in London.
After more than 3 weeks in London, the group bid farewell.