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1 posts from August 2012


Perspectives from the Visiting International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation Exchange Program

Philadelphia College of Pharmacy played host to Tony Liu, a visiting student from Taiwan, as part of an International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (http://ipsf.org/) exhange program. Liu and and two of his hosts provided their thoughts and experience of the visit that compared and contrasted the different teaching and learning cultures of the United States and Taiwan.

Hello, my name is Tony Liu and I come from Taiwan. I study at the China Medical University(CMU), and I’ll become 4th year next semester with 2 years left in earning my Bachelor’s in Pharamcy.

IPSF alumni
Tony Liu with Elizabeth Coleman P'86 (right) and Maria Centore P'86 who were involved in organizing the International Congress held at PCPS in 1989.
I’m really glad I applied to the Student exchange Program this summer. I debated for a long time and wondered what new experiences this program bring to me, and if I really needed to try and go abroad to further my knowledge. I remembered when I was a 2nd year, some foreign students came to Taiwan. I really had a good time with them, so I decided to apply and put America as my first choice. I believed I could learn and experience new things on this trip. After receiving my acceptance letter, I was excited to go, but also a little bit worried. Schoolwork was stressful, and I also had school clubs to attend at the time. I also needed to prepare documents for the trip abroad and pack all my luggage. Fortunately, I passed all my subjects, so I didn’t have to worry during the trip!

Before coming here, I knew that pharmacists in the USA  got doctorate degrees, so they will be studying more in-depth material than we were since Taiwan only offers a bachelors. The main purpose of this trip was to learn how pharmacy  is done in the States and see if any ideas could be brought back to Taiwan to perhaps be used there.

Today (July 27, 2012) was the last day of my experience and overall I went to three retail pharmacies, one industry, one clinic, and some pharmacy classes at the University of the Sciences. Three different types of pharmacy give me a chance to compare pharmacies here and also in Taiwan.I especially enjoyed my time at Johnson & Johnson during my Industry experiential.  J&J is a big company, and they have a great environment for employees to work and grow. The Clinic was different from Taiwan’s, but I liked following the preceptor to talk to patients. I also saw some interesting and inspirational teaching methods in classes! It was interesting learning how Pharmacy is practiced in the States, and I hope I can come back to learn more. I also hope to help my fellow Taiwan pharmacy students learn ways to become more involved in Pharmacy. The Philadelphia College of Pharmacy has many different student pharmacy organizations and events that encourage students to become involved with the practice early on. I hope to take these ideas and bring them back to my school. My school’s pharmacy program is only 7 years old, and I hope to help improve it from the knowledge I obtained from my experience here. 

I really adapted the life here although before I came here, everyone told me Philadelphia is a dangerous place. However, I enjoyed every day, and if I didn’t have anything to do, I loved walking around UPenn’s campus. Philadelphia is a very convenient city; I can take transportation everywhere and it’s fairly simple to figure out. Best of all, there are many different cuisines to try and I’ll miss the food here. I feel as if I did a lot of eating on this trip!

My biggest challenge was the English language. It’s one thing to learn the language in a class, and another to actually put it to use. I hope I improved my speaking skills during my stay here! I don’t think it is a big barrier for me, and I’ll keep learning and improving.

Time flies! I cherish everyone I met, everything I learned, and appreciated everything all my new friends did for me. This summer will become an unforgettable memory. I’d like to thank everyone for making me feel so welcome, and I wish everyone else to have an exciting and fun-filled summer! If any one of my new friends were to come visit me in Taiwan, I’d happily welcome you here!

 by Vivi Jung and Jennifer Wang

It’s not always easy playing the host to someone from another country, but for a month that is what  we did. Through IPSF’s student exchange program, Tony Liu was chosen to come to the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy from Taiwan to see what pharmacy was like here. As hosts, we were to make Tony feel welcome at the school, and also give him the experience of a lifetime.

IPSF students
Tony Liu with PCP students Vivi Jung and Jennifer Wang
It was a rewarding and humbling experience. Talking to Tony and comparing the similarities and differences in curriculum and career paths was quite interesting. A memory that stuck with us for a while was when Tony was introduced to several professors during his tour through the school. He thought it was so great that students could see a professor and interact with them aside from class time. We had always seen dropping into chat with professors as a given, but Tony told me his professors in Taiwan do not support students and their professional organization activities as avidly as our professors do. This made us renew our appreciation in our professors and showed us how supportive they are in our school. Tony also loved the interactive classes and labs. He wishes Taiwan will someday do the same with their classes, and this experience made us re-appreciate how much work and effort is put into making the most of my education.

Being hosts means being understanding and welcoming. Tony has never been to the States before, and many things were new and foreign to him. It took a lot of patience to explain certain topics to him several times in different ways such as pharmacist state licensing and intern hours to make sure he understood. We also learned a lot about how Taiwan’s pharmacy schools are evolving and what it entailed to be a pharmacist there. It opened our eyes to what other possibilities the pharmacy profession could lead to. We also tried to gear our city adventures towards his interests, and took into consideration what he might enjoy the most. Some of the places we visited might not have been very exciting for us, but  if Tony enjoyed it, so did we.  

We planned different places for him to visit around the city. The trips made us rediscover what a beautiful city Philadelphia is and the many things it offers. The murals, museums, festivals, events, and delicious foods were a fun way to take a step back from being immersed in studying and taking time to enjoy our summer. It took some planning, maybe a few times of getting lost, and more than few “essential” snacking stops, but we’d like to think it was a fun and enjoyable month together. Overall, it was great experience, and we hope Tony would agree he had a great time being shown how hospitality is done in the city of brotherly love. Tony left after a month, but we had made a new friend and a fellow future pharmacist colleague for life.

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