La Trobe forges positive links with India

Second year pharmacy students Bronwyn Cmedication-stdapewell, Dhruiti Leekha and Annie Sharp, who returned recently from a two- week study tour of India have spoken enthusiastically about their experience.

Ms Leekha, who came to Australia four years ago as a final-year high school student, said identifying the different perspectives of pharmacy education between the two countries was interesting.

‘The pharmacy program here is more focused on the clinical and practical applications of retail-based pharmacy. In India, it’s more about manufacturing pharmaceutical products and getting them out into the marketplace. It was interesting to see the huge machines that they use in the manufacturing process,’ Ms Leekha said.

Ms Leekha said that 90 per cent of La Trobe’s pharmacy graduates enter retail outlets or work in hospitals. In India, 95 per cent of students go into the medications manufacturing industry.

For Ms Leekha, the trip also provided an opportunity for her to compare university life in the country of her birth with that of Bendigo.

Ms Sharp said that having a Hindi-speaking companion on the visit was a bonus. ‘There’s a whole different culture with various religions in India and every state has a different language as well as Hindi, the national language. It was very handy having Dhruiti with us.

‘English is quite widespread within the more educated population but Hindi is spoken in many communities. Getting around was easier with Dhruiti. Australian colloquialism is not so well known and she had to translate some of the terms we use. The Indian students found it humorous once they understood,’ Ms Sharp said.

While Ms Leekha and Ms Sharp have both experienced overseas travel, this was the first time their fellow student, Ms Capewell, had ventured beyond Australian borders; an experience she thoroughly enjoyed.

‘The two week trip that we went on was an invaluable experience for us. I especially enjoyed the herbal component of the trip, because in Australia this is not studied in near as much details as it is in India. It was great to get away from the cities and spend a day in the village with the young ladies who are learning about herbal medicines,’ said Ms Capewell.

‘We were very well looked after by all staff and students. We made many great friends who we will hopefully see in Australia in the coming years. I can definitely see a future for a partnership between JSS and La Trobe in the future,’ she added.

Head of La Trobe University’s School of Pharmacy, Dr Michael Angove said the partnership with JSS University adds an extra dimension to pharmacy studies in Bendigo. He said the trip was made possible by the generosity of JRR University, who covered the costs of the students’ accommodation, food, local transport, sightseeing and other activities throughout the trip.

‘It’s evident that the students have gained a great deal of knowledge through the student exchange program that they would otherwise not have been possible. Experiencing first-hand the cultural and practical differences between pharmacy studies in India adds an extra dimension that can only enrich their learning,’ Dr Angove said.

‘It’s been a wonderful and positive experience for our students and we hope to build on exchange programs such as this in India and Malaysia to enrich the pharmacy program that we offer here and to offer the same opportunities for students from those countries’ Dr Angove added.

 

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