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imagine seeing pharmacy in another country!

2013-2014 APhA-ASP/IPSF SEP Newsletter - Volume 1

Become an Exchange Student through IPSF’s Student Exchange Program (SEP)

Interested in traveling? Interested in Pharmacy? IPSF’s Student Exchange Program (SEP) is the perfect place for you! Hello from your APhA-ASP/IPSF Student Exchange Officers! As a member of APhAASP, you are automatically a member of the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF). Take advantage of this and participate in the many activities that IPSF has to offer you, like SEP! Through SEP, you have the opportunity to experience pharmacy and culture on a whole new level! Choose from over 60 different countries all over the world to visit and experience the adventure of a lifetime!

Exchanges range from 2 weeks to 2 months. Students in the past have gained incredible experiences from their exchange. Their adventures are detailed in the upcoming pages of this newsletter. Take a read through to learn just how much fun and knowledge they were able to gain from SEP. If your interested in applying, the preapplication process for SEP 2014 begins on September 15th and applications will be accepted until November 1st.

Ashley Potter APhA-ASP/IPSF SEO

Pre-applications can be found at -information. You will also find a FAQs sheet for common questions that students have about SEP! Don’t delay, apply today! Those that apply earlier a better chance of being accepted! If you have any questions, don’t hesistate to contact us at

Colleen O’Connell APhA-ASP/IPSF SEO Assistant

DO NOT apply directly to the IPSF SEP Database unless instructed to by us. The U.S. has its own pre-application process!


Sept - Nov Pre-applications accepted Sept 15- Nov 1st

USA SEP timeline

Exchange Location: Lisbon, Portugal When I first heard about the

IPSF student exchange program, I knew it was something I had to do. I love traveling and learning about different cultures. What better way to do it while shadowing a pharmacy abroad?

I got the amazing opportunity to

spend three weeks in Lisbon, Portugal. The first two weeks felt like I was reliving final exams. My host, who was a pharmacy student, was worrying about her finals, studying constantly, and wondering whether she passed her exams or not. Yes, pharmacy students in other countries are just as miserable as we are during final exams. While she had exams, I spent part of my day in a small community pharmacy called Farmacia Prates and Mota. The pharmacists spoke very limited English, but they always tried to answer my questions. Pharmacy in Portugal was surprisingly similar to pharmacy in the United States. In my opinion, there are factors about community pharmacy that are universal: the pharmacy is very accessible to the people, and for better or worse, there are still patients that come in and talk forever to the pharmacists (even sometimes to me although I do not speak any Portuguese!).

If selected from the pre-application process, secondary applications will be completed in December

The Pre-application can be found at

SEP Experience: Nellie Jafari


My favorite aspect of pharmacy

in Portugal was not dealing with insurance issues. When patients would come in with

a prescription, the pharmacists would simply just hand them the medication and give appropriate counseling. There were no prescription labels to be printed, no insurance information to be entered, and no phone calls to insurance companies to be made. I feel like this allowed for the pharmacists to have more time to interact with the patients and build relationships. Something that struck me as very different was the work attire. The pharmacists wore jeans and flip flops at times. It took me awhile to adjust to wearing this while working in a pharmacy. I could hear my lab teacher in the back of my mind threatening to take away my professionalism points.

Besides being at the pharmacy, I

spent the rest of my time exploring the city of Lisbon. I got to see so many museums and famous monuments including the Belem tower. The highlight of my trip was going to the city of Porto and tasting all the amazing foods and wines! At the end of my student exchange, I was surprised how hard it was to say good bye. I got to know my host and the pharmacists I shadowed so well, even with a language barrier. I recommend pharmacy students to participate in the student exchange program. Even if you are nervous about language barriers or being in new places, it is an experience you will enjoy. I have learned so much about pharmacy, people, and myself during my time abroad. There is no experience quite like it!

Jan - May After the application process, placement for SEP begins in January and runs until May!

Scuba diving in the coral reefs in Australia

SEP Experience: Tony Olson Exchange Location: Australia Living, working, and learning in Australia through the IPSF Student Exchange Program provided an irreplaceable value personally and professionally. From a professional perspective, it enabled me to be creative by not just trying to “think outside of the box,” but through getting out of it altogether! It made it easier to ask the ever-present question "why" when faced with differences and similarities of systems to academics, pharmacy owners, patients, and myself. The side by side comparison allowed for analysis of the underlying values and inherent tradeoffs of pharmacy and healthcare practices. I discovered that just because Americans do things one way, doesn’t mean there aren’t other effective methods and views can accomplish the same purpose, sometime more efficiently. This applied to everything from drug scheduling, implications of location when medication therapy management services are provided, and pharmacy accreditation. Living in a new culture for an extended period of time also provided insight into what it’s like to be a minority. I felt lost and out of place even in a country that “technically” spoke the same language. Amazingly even though the structure of sentences are similar, the vocabulary is drastically different. This along with the accent, different cultural and social values, ideas, and lifestyles was a constant reminder that I was on the other side of the world. I believe firmly this experience will directly translate into benefits for my future patients, maybe some of whom may be from minority cultures. I won’t be able to understand their exact situation, but I at least got a short glimpse into what it feels like to operate outside of the predominant culture.

IPSF also showed me that a career in international pharmacy is possible with a little planning and desire. Options can include everything from working with crisis response teams such as Doctors Without Borders, research, clinical work (I met an American PharmD working at a hospital in Cairns), or industry jobs. Transitioning between countries isn’t always seamless, but the opportunities are there if you know where and what to look for. Finally on a personal level, the opportunity to travel and explore Australia was amazing. I took full advantage of my weekends and had some amazing life experiences that included the following highlights: -Attended a Sydney Opera House Symphony performance -Climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge -Water-taxied through Sydney Harbor -Drove the Great Ocean Rd (“on the wrong side”) -Fed kangaroos, wallabies, and emus -Watched the sunrise and sunset over the 12 Apostles -Observed the parade of wild penguins at St. Kilda in Melbourne -Attended a Rugby match -Successfully threw a boomerang -Took a gondola ride through a rainforest -Visited the oldest rainforest on Earth (Daintree) -Took a nap on the beach at Cape Tribulation -Kayaked down a mountain creek -Got an Australian Driver’s License -Went scuba diving in Great Barrier Reef -Learned to a play a didgeridoo -Saw wild saltwater crocodiles, koalas, and cassowaries -Hugged and fed a wild Sea Turtle underwater I had the time of my life through the IPSF-SEP and even gained some very applicable insights into healthcare, the world, and myself. It’s an experience I’d highly recommend!

WARNING! Participating in SEP could result in extreme cheerfulness and happiness due to experiences of a lifetime, new friends all over the world, some of the best memories you will ever have, and pharmacy experiences you will never be able to obtain in the United States.

Kumasi South Hospital Pharmacy in Ghana

Ghana v  Congo  soccer  match  with  the   current  SEO,  Oheneba  and  past  SEO,   Arnold  (le=  and  right  respec>vely)

Pharmacy students  talking  to  community   members  in  the  Volta  Region

Pharmacy student  discussing  drug  safety   with  high  school  students

Kakum Na>onal  Park  Canopy  Walk

SEP Experience: Hellena Admassu Exchange Location: Ghana This past summer, I spent two amazing months in Ghana working in different pharmacy settings. Why Ghana? There were many reasons. Aside from the rich cultural and historical background which I had learned about in my undergraduate studies, I was also aware of Ghanaians’ exceptional warmth and hospitality. Upon my arrival and throughout my stay, the friendliness of the SEO and almost everyone I met made my visit incredibly pleasant. Not only did I observe pharmacy practice in another country, but I also learned about the culture and built long lasting friendships with my colleagues. During my first month there, I worked in two pharmacy settings in Kumasi. One was in a small community hospital – Kumasi South Hospital. During this time, I got to know the hospital staff and several 3rd year pharmacy students who were completing their rotation requirements. Thanks to the SEO, Oheneba, I also had the opportunity to work in a community pharmacy site. Working side by side with students and pharmacists, I learned a great deal about drug regulation and policies. I also had the opportunity to observe first-hand how patient counseling was conducted there. The most exciting and unique aspect of the SEP in Ghana is the Drug Safety and Health Awareness Campaign, a student led public health outreach program. Each year, 100+ pharmacy students travel to a different (often times rural) part of the country to provide health education to communities and address drug related concerns. This past year, students went to the Volta Region and reached the public through schools, churches, markets and community gatherings. In my group of 12 students, we educated on topics like proper administration of medications, selection of effective antimalarials and the importance of purchasing drugs from legitimate sources. For example, one question we repeatedly encountered was whether it was okay to take medications with akpeteshie – a homebrew – instead of water. Some thought doing so might improve the absorption of the medication. We also frequently addressed the need for caution with pain relief medications to prevent acetaminophen overdose. Our work required long hours and was at times grueling, but it was certainly rewarding. The community continuously expressed their appreciation for our efforts and the education we provided. We also had the support of the Member of Parliament and municipal chief executive. At the completion of the program, we presented a report of our observations and made recommendations to the municipal government as well as the main hospital in the town. Aside from pharmacy related work, the SEO also arranged for all the exchange students to visit different sights in the country. Near Kumasi, we visited many cultural sights and a meteorite impact crater lake, Lake Bosomtwe. In the southern part of the country we visited the historic El Mina and Cape Coast Castles and took a canopy walk in the nearby Kakum National Park. A major lesson I took from this experience is the importance of cultural awareness and sensitivity. Ghanaians truly appreciated those who took interest in their culture. Simply speaking a few Akan words and trying the traditional dishes goes a long way in establishing trust and openness. As professionals working in the health field, it is important to take time to understand those who have a different background than ourselves as it will impact the quality of care we deliver. I absolutely enjoyed this experience! I have learned immensely from it and it will no doubt influence the career choices I will make for years to come.

London during the 2012 Summer Olympics!

SEP Experience: Jane Kim Exchange Location: United Kingdom Traveling abroad, practicing pharmacy, and meeting new people during summer break? Sign me up, please! When I heard about the International Pharmacy Students Federation (IPSF) and the Student Exchange Program (SEP), I got excited right away. I had just started my first year of pharmacy school, moving all the way from California to Maryland. As I started absorbing how different the east coast was from the west, I realized that the SEP would allow me to do it on a global scale! London, England was my site of choice, mainly because I wanted to learn about our country’s roots, and if the UK was all that different from the U.S. The 2012 Olympics was definitely an added bonus! In my 6-week trip, I traveled throughout London, visited a fellow pharmacy student doing research at Cambridge, and to Madrid and Amsterdam before/after my exchange. I went to London thinking, English is English, right? I should have no problem. Besides just their accent, English in the UK uses many different words and phrases than what we use in the U.S. My favorites were stag-do/hen night (bachelor/bachelorette party) and aubergine (eggplant). London is a huge metropolitan city and I loved seeing so much diversity in such a small area. I rented out a room in a flat with six other people who were: British, Spanish, Uruguayan, Italian, and Singaporean. At my pharmacy, there were British, Indian, Nigerian, Portuguese, and Iraqi employees. Meeting people from so many different backgrounds definitely gave me a sense of connectedness in the world. People from across the world share the same kinds of fears and doubts, as well as reasons for joy. Two English stereotypes were also confirmed: there are pubs everywhere and people drink

tea, all the time. The main pharmacist made me tea on several occasions! I worked at a Day Lewis Pharmacy, UK’s largest independent pharmacy chain. It was an interesting learning experience for several reasons. Working at Day Lewis got the benefits of both an independent pharmacy and a chain pharmacy; both a great idea and something I have not seen in the U.S. We filled over 500 prescriptions per day which the employees did professionally with ease. The pharmacist, pre-reg student, technician, dispensers, and medicine counter clerks were all very friendly and inviting; everyone worked hard while laughing and having fun throughout the day. They also had a great relationship with the patients and surgery (read: doctor’s offices) nearby which is important since the UK works under the National Health Service (NHS). As the U.S. is currently implementing its own version of universal healthcare, there was much to learn about a universal health care system that had been in place for decades. It was astonishing to see patients getting their scripts filled with no insurance problems and the pharmacy with little payment problems. Although the NHS may have its issues, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to serve patients first by need, rather than by payment. The main pharmacist, Darshan Negandhi, MRPharmS, was passionate for change and emphasized the importance of pharmacists voicing their opinions and getting involved in support for our profession. I accomplished my main goal which was to learn about the NHS and exchange ideas for the future, under his guidance and support. I am grateful to IPSF for having a program that offers students this kind of amazing opportunity and highly encourage everyone to apply. It was undoubtedly one of the best educational experiences in my life! Viva La Pharmacie!

SEP Experience: Theresa Nguyen Exchange Location: The Netherlands My SEP experience was definitely a great learning experience. Daily interactions with pharmacy staff and working closely with the pharmacist, I learned a lot about differences between American and Dutch pharmacy practices. It was definitely a great platform to exchange ideas and was also grounds to learn more about differences in pharmacy practice and healthcare. One thing I was repeatedly asked was, “are there really drivethru and 24-hour pharmacies in America?” Let’s just say, the answer shocked the Dutch and definitely spurred lots of discussion! One very important aspect of the SEP experience was getting a true Dutch experience and learning more about the country. Parand, the SEO, organized a fabulous SEP day for me and another Romanian pharmacy student in the city of Amsterdam, which encompassed some highlights of the Dutch culture. On our SEP day, we ate gouda cheese, explored the city, tracked down a very big clog to take a photo with and visited the House of Bols. It was simply fun and educational! Aside from being in the pharmacy, I had the chance to network with pharmacy students, attend organizational meetings and learn more about the pharmacy programs offered in the Netherlands. In addition to SEP day, I was graciously invited to social gatherings, where I was able to mingle with pharmacy students from all 3 pharmacy campuses. Not only was I able to meet people in Utrecht, the largest college campus in Netherlands, I had the chance to meet students in Den Haag and Leiden, as well as international students from France and Canada. It was an international experience in more ways than one – I was meeting so many people with the same interest as me from different places with different views and opinions on healthcare. My whirlwind experience through the Netherlands was nothing short of amazing: I met amazing people, welcomed new experiences and delved into the Dutch lifestyle and pharmacy practices. If I get the chance to do it all over again, I would!

SEP Experience: Jonah Martins Exchange Location: Egypt

SEP in Egypt was truly an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to meet some of the most incredible people of my life that I know will remain good friends. It was a completely different world from what I am used to and I loved everything about it. I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to see what pharmacy was like in Egypt. I enjoyed learning about the culture and trying different foods. The busy life of Cairo was always fun with so much to do and see everywhere you look. Traveling around Egypt was the best time of my life from seeing the temples in Aswan to snorkeling in Dahab. I got to see the breathtaking view of the sunset from Mount Sinai with incredible people, my SEP friends. The people I met in Egypt were by far the kindest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met. I am so lucky to be part of IPSF and I highly recommend SEP to everyone!

Excursion to the White Desert Farafra Oasis

SEP Experience: Dianna Staves Exchange Location: Egypt Although I was fully aware that I was traveling across the globe from Baltimore to Egypt, my education in pharmacy and different cultures began the moment my first flight landed at London’s Heathrow Airport. During my layover at the airport, I wandered around and ultimately found myself at Boots, a popular chain store that sells health and beauty products, including prescriptions. I am sure I appeared to be an especially strange tourist in the pharmacy. I not only picked up multiple over-the-counter products and read all the ingredients and instructions, I took photos of them! The packaging for the same medications used in England and the U.S. was vastly different. That was not so surprising to me, but the attractive packaging is what drew my eye to the products in the first place. The truly shocking thing I noticed, though, was that many OTC products in that pharmacy were regulated as prescription-only products in the U.S. I also noted that there was an acetaminophen/ibuprofen combination pain reliever on the shelf. We have never discussed the use of both these medications at once in any of my classes, so this prompted me to ask international student pharmacists about it while I was in Cairo. Simply being in a new store overseas prompted many interesting conversations about what each student used for general pain relief in their own countries. I like to think that our common link in pharmacy practice opened bilateral diplomatic relations between our countries. I was able to learn through observation, and my own personal direct interaction, how patients in various sections of Egypt sought healthcare advice and treatment at community pharmacies. I learned from Egyptian student pharmacists that 42% of Egypt’s population lives below the established poverty level, and that many cannot afford healthcare. This directly influences pharmacy practice in the community. The average Egyptian citizen does not have the financial freedom to simply go to a physician any time an illness is suspected. He or she will approach a community pharmacist, state their symptoms, and pharmacy personnel will make a medication recommendation to the patient. Many community pharmacies are independently owned, and the prices for medications are rarely set. The obvious benefit to this type of system is that pharmacy personnel can make immediate price discounts and adjustments for patients who could not otherwise afford medication. My education surpassed pharmacy practice, and “living” in Egypt with the other students, even for this short time, has given me the insight to hopefully become a better practitioner and neighbor. Despite having to become accustomed to the blistering heat and navigating the nuances of a foreign language, I became quite fond of trying to converse in Arabic. It is an amazing to feel so welcomed into a foreign country, simply because I made an effort to learn about a new culture and the people who live there daily. I learned to adapt to many situations, and I am certain that in the future, I will respond appropriately to any cultural or professional obstacles. I will be forever grateful for this experience, which was only made possible through APhA-ASP and IPSF. I met so many wonderful people from different countries and now have friends literally all over the world. Lessons are not always learned in the classroom, and traveling to a different country to study pharmacy practice is an enriching, life-changing experience. IPSF is cognizant of this and I enthusiastically encourage anyone in this career field to embark on an adventure such as SEP! To Egypt, Viva la Pharmacie!

SEP Experience: Samantha Strong Exchange Location: Covilhã, Portugal When I heard of my acceptance into IPSF-SEP in Covilhã, Portugal this summer, I was thrilled to know I would have an opportunity to explore and learn about the pharmacy profession in another country. This program incorporated two major things that appealed to me: my desire to learn about and experience other cultures and my interest in becoming a pharmacist. Although I recognized there were many differences between European pharmacies and pharmacies in the United States, I had never entered a European pharmacy, and I was eager to delve into these

fundamental differences. I arrived in Lisbon the last weekend in July for APEF’s annual SEP weekend. During this weekend, students participating in SEP throughout Portugal came together to experience traditional Portuguese dinners, watch “Tunas” perform, participate in dance workshops, and spend time on the beach. This was a great way to begin my time in Portugal, and I eagerly anticipated my future experiences in Covilhã. Covilhã is a small college city in the mountains approximately 3hours, by car, northeast of Lisbon. It is known as the “snow city” of Portugal and is the only place you can go skiing in the country. During the 1st week in Covilhã, pharmacy students from the Universidade da Beira Interior hosted myself and 4 other SEP students. Our hosts graciously cooked traditional Portuguese dinners for us, such as

bacalhau com nata and Francesinha. They also planned excursions that included exploring Serra da Estrela and spending time at a local river beach. After exploring Covilhã with our hosts for the 1st week, it was time to start my practicum at Farmácia São João. Although this was a small community pharmacy, it included 2 exam/ counseling rooms where blood glucose, pressure, and Hemoglobin A1c levels could be taken, as well as administering certain injections. The pharmacy also utilized a podiatrist who visited once a week to accommodate patients. It was apparent from the first day that Portugal possessed a progressive view of the role a local pharmacy should play in a community and that the pharmacists were dedicated to providing direct patient-centered care, as they were most accessible to these patients. The pharmacists and staff graciously welcomed me into their pharmacy and were eager to discuss how the pharmacy profession differed in their home country from the US. I was able to learn and observe many ways pharmacy is practiced in Portugal. I spent a portion of my time processing medication deliveries, learning about medication pricing, and insurance billing. It was brought to my attention that the pharmacy profession had undergone many changes due to increased government oversight. Many of these changes were beneficial to the profession and to patients, but some individuals consider certain changes to have directly contributed to the diminished

opportunities for new pharmacists to find employment within the country. I found it extremely fascinating to compare, not only how pharmacy differs between the US and Portugal, but also how the enormously different national healthcare systems influence the field of pharmacy. Although my hands-on experience and interaction with patients was limited due to the language barrier, the fundamental knowledge base I gained about the pharmacy profession in Portugal during my four-week stay was tremendously enriching. This experience along with my didactic education has given me a comprehensive understanding of the pharmacy profession and will be essential in determining my post-graduate plans.

SEP Experience: Garrett Rompelman Exchange Location: Faro, Portugal One of my biggest regrets growing up was that I never took advantage of studying abroad during my undergraduate years. So when I heard about the International Pharmaceutical Student Federation – Student Exchange Program (IPSF-SEP), I jumped at the opportunity. I’m glad I did, as my stay in Portugal was by far the best experience of my life! I was fortunate enough to stay in Faro, Portugal for a month while working at the University of the Algarve-Gambelas. During that month, I was a laboratory research assistant isolating compounds in an attempt to find an alternative, more stable, artimisinin derivative. I had isolated compounds in organic chemistry labs before but never truly understood what I was doing. This was the first time I was able to combine my undergraduate chemistry knowledge with my post-graduate pharmacology knowledge in a hands-on setting and see how it actually applies in the real world. I realize that my experience was a mere glimpse into drug research and development, but I will forever be grateful for the introduction. But much more important than that were the friendships that I had made. A good friend of mine once told me “It’s not where you’re at, it’s who you’re with,” a quote I find myself repeating more and more these days. While traveling I found that you will always meet amazing people, but staying in hostels and forming transient relationships pale in comparison to getting to know actual “locals.” The pharmacy students I met while in Portugal were some of the most genuine, down-toearth, humble kids I have ever met. I forged life-long friendships while studying and comparing pharmacy practice across different borders. These same students exposed me to more of the local culture and secrets that I would never have been able to find on my own. I cannot thank IPSF/APhA, my preceptor, and the students I’ve met enough for supporting my study abroad. I feel as if I’ve grown more as a person and as a student pharmacist while studying abroad than I would have in a traditional classroom. It is truly an experience I will never forget! For those considering the SEP…forget all the unknowns, apply, and JUST DO IT! You won’t regret it.

SEP Experience: Sahar Seyedin Exchange Location: Spain My experience with IPSF-SEP has been a great opportunity to build my understanding of pharmacy at a global scale and an opportunity to learn and embrace many cultures. It was very interesting to see how differently our educational programs and pharmacy practices operate yet yield the same goals of serving our patients and improving patient outcome. I had many conversations with pharmacists and pharmacy students in both clinical and community pharmacy setting. The biggest thing I learned from this experience is that there is more than one-way to provide optimal patient care and that we can all benefit from one another’s experiences. In terms of the cultural education, the people of Barcelona were so welcoming and willing to answer any question I had. I think that if I did not travel through IPSF, I would not have really known the culture of Barcelona. This exchange program connected me with so many locals who taught me about a typical life in Barcelona and gave me advice about what things to see and the best transportation to take. Not only was this experience educational, but I also made new friendships with pharmacy students from all over Europe. I spent most of my days in Barcelona with 12 other pharmacy students learning about their

cultures and what area of pharmacy they were interested in. My friends from Hungry made me a traditional Hungarian breakfast and I tried a traditional meal from Serbia. On my last day of working in the community pharmacy, the Barcelona students and I went to a tapa’s restaurant and they taught me about the different types of foods. The traveling experience was phenomenal. I spent my mornings working in the pharmacy until 2pm when all the students met up and went sightseeing to museums, churches, parks and well-renowned architecture such as Casa Batllo. On the weekends, I made day-trips to the Salvador Dali museum in Figueres and Gerona, the capital of Catalonia. The travel experience was an opportunity that I will never forget. Not only did I get to share my passion for pharmacy and learn about pharmacy at an international level, but I also was able to combine it with my passion for travel. IPSF-SEP is a great way to make friends, travel and learn about cultures as well as, broaden your pharmacy practice experiences. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of this organization and highly recommend students to seek out the information and get started on their IPSF-SEP application.


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