Student Summer Travel to Spain

Over the summer, six undergraduate nursing students, Antonio Hernandez Blanco, Lilian Bravo, Olivia Jaouhari, Leslie Morales, Maria Ruiz, and Araceli Rodriguez, traveled to Spain with Dr. Marcia Van Riper for two weeks to attend an international summer school program offered by the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain.While there, they attended classes on topics such as the Spanish National Health System, nursing education, research and service in Spain, and the promotion of health and healthy environments. They also visited a variety of clinical sites and participated in a number of cultural activities.

Their time at the summer school concluded with group presentations and a beautiful ceremony in which they received certificates for their participation.

Following the summer school, the students traveled to Santander, Madrid, Granada, and Barcelona in Spain to visit foundations devoted to the care and support of individuals with Down syndrome and their families and to work with this population directly. Five of the six students speak Spanish fluently— a great benefit, as they helped translate a presentation given by Dr. Van Riper, and assisted with a Q and A after.

Dr Van Riper’s presentation was on her cross-cultural study on adaptation and resilience in families of individuals with Down syndrome in which more than 150 parents from Spain have participated. Dr. Van Riper also gave a presentation for parents and professionals associated with a DOWN NAVARRA – a Down syndrome support group located in Pamplona. At the end of this presentation, Dr. Van Riper asked the parents to give the students suggestions for how they would like nurses to care for their child and family members — a powerful experience for the students.

The UNC School of Nursing now has a signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain, making it possible for our undergraduate nursing students to attend the International Summer School Program at a reduced rate, and to spend a month observing in clinical settings in Navarra during the summer. In addition, each summer up to four undergraduate students from the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona will spend a month observing in clinical settings in Chapel Hill.