School of Pharmacy News & Media Center
The University of Mississippi

Student Pharmacists Experience Research, Culture during Summer Abroad

Posted on: October 18th, 2019 by herman

October 18, 2019

By Whitney Tarpy

OXFORD, Miss. – The summer season is a great time to travel, and two University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy students combined adventure and pharmacy after their selection to the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation Student Exchange Program through the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists.

Second-year student pharmacists Harshin Sanjanwala and Sophie Durham spent part of their summer in Taiwan and Hungary, respectively, where they each received new research opportunities and insight to foreign cultures.

Sanjanwala smiles as he sits atop of a mountain with clouds and other mountains in background.

Harshin Sanjanwala. Photo submitted

“My time in Taiwan was absolutely phenomenal,” Sanjanwala said. “It gave me international friendships and a research experience like no other, and I am incredibly thankful to have received help from my friends, family and the School of Pharmacy during the application process.”

Sanjanwala, a native of Madison, Mississippi, spent a majority of his time doing research at China Medical University. The student body president-elect concentrated on diabetes drug research, while learning about the differences of western and Chinese medicine from hospital tours and conversations with other students.

“By contrast, it was a great feeling to identify particular drugs that are used across every border,” Sanjanwala said. “We truly are in an interconnected world with the unified goal of improving patient outcomes across the globe.”

Durham, from Germantown, Tennessee, worked with the Pharmaceutical Technology Department at Semmelweis University. Durham rotated between three labs that focused on modified release dosage forms, preparing parenteral solutions and equipment that developed and produced drugs.

“This rotation allowed me to gain a broad overview of the pharmaceutical technology department and work with pharmacy students from around the world,” Durham said. “It was interesting to see the concepts we discussed in pharmaceutics and calculations classes in practice and to learn about values that are important in Hungarian pharmacies.”

Sophie smiles with hand in the air with city view behind her.

Sophie Durham. Photo submitted

It’s not all work and no play for student exchange participants. Both student pharmacists took in the culture that each country had to offer. Sanjanwala explored the city of Taichung and took a train to visit the Alishan Mountains in Chiayi, Taiwan.

Durham spent weekends in different towns such as Lake Balaton, a popular Hungarian summer destination. She also toured Budapest, which included a stop at her favorite place, the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

Sanjanwala and Durham both counted the people they met as the most special parts of their travels. Durham, who serves as the local exchange officer for the school’s APhA-ASP chapter, learned about the schools, beliefs and traditions of other countries while gaining life-long friendships.

“I would encourage student pharmacists interested in traveling, pharmacy and adventure to apply for the Student Exchange Program,” Durham said. “I could not have asked for a better experience. I learned the importance of clear communication and adaptability, which are skills that I can employ in my future pharmacy practice.”

To learn more about their summer abroad, read the journal entries of Sanjanwala and Durham.