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Reflections from Anhui Medical University Students: Warm and Friendly American Friends

In 2015, an exchange program was launched between Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) and Anhui Medical University (AMU) (pronounced On-Qway) in Hefei, China. Since then, a group of five to six students majoring in clinical pharmacy, accompanied by one AMU faculty member, has come to NEOMED every year.

This is the fourth article in a series of reflections by Anhui students who spent the 2018-2019 academic year at NEOMED. Jinfang Ge (Grace) contributed this reflection.

Living at NEOMED, we deeply feel the hospitality offered by our American friends.

There is no doubt that the most impressive person is College of Pharmacy Dean (Richard) Kasmer. He not only met us at the airport, but also he served us with delicious food. We are impressed by his amazing knowledge and personality. Thanks to his kindly arrangement, we have a regular tea meeting every Tuesday in NEOMED’s Inclusivity Center, where we meet many staff and faculty who teach us lots and relieve our homesickness.

The friend we should thank most is Mrs. Jodie Dillner, who is in charge of our exchange program. She not only arranged our study and life schedules, sent emails to remind us to participate in various activities, but also used her spare time to help us solve the problems in life.

On more than one occasion, she organized for us to participate in oral communication activities and drove us to go shopping. She even invited us to watch a soccer game sponsored by local high school students’ soccer club to help us understand the American culture. It is worth mentioning that on Christmas day, she kindly invited us to have dinner with her family — which not only led us closer to American life, but also relieved our loneliness and homesickness. We often joke that she is our American mother.

Professor (Seth) Brownlee, who is the vice dean of the College of Pharmacy, is one of the professors who has visited AMU. Due to his visiting and teaching experience at our university, he knows more about our studying style in China. In view of our accustomedness to reading textbooks in China, he enthusiastically helped us contact the librarian and order the paper version of the textbook for us. What makes us even more moved is that he coordinated time for fourth-year pharmacy students to help us further understand and practice what we studied in class

Volunteers John and Janice Evanovich, a couple who are two of the most respected teachers, design an English class for us every Tuesday. According to our calendar, they arrange time to teach us English once a week, no matter if it rains or shines. They combine traditional American culture and English communication skills in every class, providing different reading materials, correcting our pronunciation and activating the class atmosphere with snacks, props and jokes. To extend our understanding of American culture, they drive us to visit museums and libraries, orchards and markets, lands and rivers.

Our schoolmates at NEOMED are also very kind. They support us with warm smile and positive help. When we were in a class of pharmacotherapeutics and were at a loss about the abbreviations of some professional vocabularies and terminologies, an American classmate sat beside us wrote down the full names of all the abbreviations involved in the class and handed the list to us.

Time flies so fast. We have lived in NEOMED for half a year. Although we miss our country and our university, we enjoy the life at NEOMED.

Just as the College of Pharmacy’s website says, “NEOMED College of Pharmacy is the place to ignite your dream,” we will ignite our professional dream of clinical pharmacology at NEOMED.