Studying Public Health Abroad: A Romanian Perspective Pentru a cita lucrarea / To cite the paper:
Petrisor AI (2000), Studying Public Health Abroad: A Romanian Perspective, The Student Diplomat 5(2):2-3

Studying Public Health Abroad: A Romanian Perspective

Alexandru I. Petrisor

Published in The Student Diplomat, Volume V, Fall 2000

To most people study abroad represents a challenging but also meaningful experience. And yet, it represents one of the best ways to acquire in a short time valuable knowledge, skills, and, most of all, experience. Furthermore, studying abroad is the best way to break everlasting stereotypes about the country where you study, about other countries, and, last but not least, about your own country.

This was one of the main reasons that made me, a Romanian student, choose the United States to study Biostatistics. I knew that it was going to be challenging, but the real shock was yet to come.

Most people are not aware of what "Biostatistics" means, and I have to answer the question. After obtaining my MSPH in this field, I have an overall perspective and now I reply with another question: "Would you prefer an American or a Romanian definition?" Such a reply is overwhelming, but very true.

Back home, we define Biostatistics as a border discipline, applying the statistical methods to the study of biological systems. Most of the workers in this field are either biologists who learned more about Statistics (as I am), or statisticians who studied Biology. In the United States, Biostatistics is a public-health discipline that applies Statistics in public health. A biostatistician could be a statistician dedicated to public health, a medical doctor, a biologist, an epidemiologist, or any other public health professional who has decided to accept the statistical challenge.

This difference in interpreting my field of study was, most likely, the most important and stimulating experience during my program. However, I decided to accept the challenge, and as a result, enriched my theoretical and practical knowledge in a completely new field, subject to a continued developing process in my country. Moreover, by applying statistical knowledge to various fields (Biology, in Romania, and different public health fields in the United States), my ability to handle the statistical tools has improved substantially.

There were other countless benefits due to my studying abroad. Over time I found other differences, but I thought that this was by far the most meaningful experience regarding my American studies, compared to the Romanian experience. Differences exist even within the same country, so it can be expected to find them between different countries, and even more so between different continents.

I am providing this example with the belief that it represents a good illustration of what studying abroad means. I do hope that the readers of these lines will understand how challenging, and at the same time beneficial, this wonderful experience of studying abroad can be. And I recommend to anybody who gets a chance to study abroad: do not miss it! It enriches you spiritually, professionally, and in other aspects of life as well.