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Students Without Borders

Students Without Borders
As a TIP fellow, Arame Tiam has been able to develop her own interdisciplinary course of study in “Healthcare Policy in Modern Africa.” In the process of doing so she'll have the opportunity to develop close relationships with faculty outside her majors, receive support for studying abroad, and do some very serious, very concrete thinking about what she'd like to do with her life.
Arame Thiam arrived at The University of Texas at Austin already set to divide her academic energies between two very different realms. She would major in biology so that she'd be able to pursue a career in medicine. And she'd major in French as a means of better understanding the culture and history of Senegal, the former French colony in west Africa where she was born.

The Texas Interdisciplinary Plan (TIP) Fellows program opened up a third possibility. As a TIP fellow, Tiam has been able to create a bridge between her two interests, by developing her own interdisciplinary course of study in “Healthcare Policy in Modern Africa.” And in the process of doing so she'll have the opportunity to develop close relationships with faculty outside her majors, receive support for studying abroad, and do some very serious, very concrete thinking about what she'd like to do with her life.

Thiam spoke to fellow TIP-ster Li Yi recently about her experience of the TIP Fellows program.

Yi: Why did you join TIP Fellows?

Thiam: TIP Fellows offers a very broad range of opportunities. I was able to propose a topic of my choosing, based on my interests, and select a series of courses [in Government, African Studies, and Sociology] that will allow me to delve further into my topic. The IP also gives me an outlet to explore studying abroad, whether it be in the form of an internship, volunteering, or taking courses, and provides resources to help aid in funding for such an experience.

Tell us a little more about your field of interest and why you chose it.

I chose my topic because it allows me to get a deeper understanding of the area of health care I am most interested in–the improvement of health care in western Africa. Because most West African nations are Francophone countries, studying French makes me better equipped to communicate effectively in those countries.

I am originally from Senegal, a small country in West Africa. I experienced firsthand the lack of adequate health care in that country, and I really want to explore why the situation persists and how we can improve conditions there. In my proposal, I wrote that I intended to study how African governments have impacted the formulation, adoption and implementation of health care policy in Africa throughout the past thirty years. I have a profound interest in this topic; I hope what I learn here will complement my future career.

What is the most interesting thing you have learned during the process of writing your proposal and beginning your courses?

Initially, I thought I would be most interested in studying the relationship between France and French-colonized countries. Through the process of writing my proposal, I discovered that I was far more interested in the impact of the lack of health care development in previously colonized countries.

How have the Texas IP classes influenced your college experience?

Texas IP courses have made my college experience much more educationally enriching, since I am taking courses that are taught from a global perspective. Rather than being restricted to the conditions in the U.S., I am being made more aware of the issues we are confronted with globally. This is allowing me to ponder how I can impact the world as an individual.

What I like most about TIP Fellows is that participants are encouraged to study abroad to enrich their educational experience. This summer, for instance, I will be going to Haiti to volunteer in their medical relief clinics.
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Saturday, 23 September 2017

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