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Engineering  |  Grand Challenges Scholars Program

Frederick Sebastian

Junior, Biomedical Engineering
GCSP Theme: Health
Experience: Study Abroad at University of Sussex, Brighton, England

 

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“[Studying abroad] is an opportunity to learn much more than what a classroom is able to provide. It is a splendid time to learn about one’s self.”

For five months, Grand Challenge Scholar and Biomedical Engineering student Frederick Sebastian studied abroad at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England. He was enrolled in two online ASU classes and three in-person classes at the University of Sussex. During his time in England and at the University, Sebastian occupied his time with various clubs and societies and acclimated himself to English culture.

 

Being apart of the GCSP allowed Sebastian access to resources to make this experience possible. Overall, he feels that studying abroad is a great opportunity. He was able to meet people from different countries and backgrounds, explore a new country, and learn about his field of study from a different and more cultured point of view.

Why are you involved in GCSP?

I am involved with GCSP because it is an opportunity for me to differentiate myself from other engineering students, and I believe this is essential given ASU’s exceptionally large student population. Additionally I was looking for a program that will help me demonstrate my versatility as a student; and concluded that this is the best program for that since GCSP’s requirements include distinct components. GCSP also provides me with resources that help me to not only meet my goals but exceed them.

What did you learn from the experience?

There are many things I learnt from this experience, but the most prominent one is learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I also learnt how to assimilate with my new environment without relying on my usual network of support. My assimilation included making new friends, learning a new education system, and getting used to the weather. I was also forced to be more independent financially. Although going to college requires me to be financially independent, being thousands of miles away from my parents reasserted the need to be responsible and frugal with my funds.

How did this experience enhance your engineering background or studies?

I took Sociology of Medicine and Health at my host university and this class made the biggest impact on my engineering studies since I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering, and have a lot of interest in health issues. This class provided me with knowledge of the medical field that I had never thought of. It directly challenged the biomedical model in many instances and that led me to doing a lot of research on my own accords to better understand the challenges. Additionally, the period of my stay was when the U.K. was having their elections. This gave me an opportunity to discuss with the locals about their National Health System and compare it with the American system (or lack thereof). Since I didn’t have prior sociology knowledge, this experience definitely increased my interest in healthcare policies and structure such as the over-medicalization of certain practices, social construction of mental disorders, and so on.