Public Relations  >  News Center  >  News Releases  >  June 2017  >  June 7, 2017  >  Visiting Chinese students find welcome, wisdom at Creighton
Visiting Chinese students find welcome, wisdom at Creighton

Julia Yuer Jiang, left, and Zoey Yunyang have been studying as visiting students from Nanjing Medical University since January.Working in a new environment, not to mention a new country, two visiting students from China found themselves in the pool Friday.

Julia Yuer Jiang, an occupational therapy student, and Zoey Yunyang, a physical therapy student, both from Nanjing Medical University, took part in a Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions aquatic therapy sessions June 2 at the Armbrust YMCA in West Omaha.

“We’ve never had this experience in water before,” Jiang said. “It’s not something you see often in China. We’re also working with children, which is something new. They’re very cute. Chinese parents probably wouldn’t let a toddler in the water but it absolutely has many benefits for children to do rehabilitation exercises in the water.”

Jiang and Yunyang are part of a larger contingent of visiting Chinese students Creighton will host this summer. Coming from eight universities, 46 students and three faculty will stay for one to three months, taking courses and observing clinical rotations with Creighton faculty in physical therapy and occupational therapy. A medical program will also host seven students and a faculty member for a one-month exchange.

Though Jiang and Yunyang have been at Creighton since the beginning of the spring semester, they have welcomed their fellows from Nanjing and said they’ve enjoyed their portion of the exchange program with the University, which has included courses and work at CHI Health Lakeside Hospital.

“We’ve taken three years of a course in China and are just getting ready to graduate,” Yunyang said. “But this experience has been good for us. It’s letting us see new ways of practicing rehabilitation. I think therapists in the U.S. take a more systematic approach and it’s helped to see this so that we can take it back to China.”

Yunyang and Jiang said physical therapy and occupational therapy were small health care niches in China until 2008. In May of that year, a massive earthquake rocked the central province of Sichuan, killing more than 87,000 people and injuring nearly 400,000.

“Since then, there’s been much more attention on rehabilitation from injury,” Yunyang said. “It has developed very quickly, so we’re having to learn a lot in a short period. I think that’s what has been so helpful about coming to Creighton to learn.”

Coupled with an aging population, the study and practice of rehabilitation science has grown steadily in the world’s most populous nation.

“More and more people are in need of the kinds of rehabilitation services that we’re learning about,” Jiang said. “It’s a growing field and many students in China want to study abroad to learn the various ways rehabilitation is practiced.”

2008 was also the year Creighton began the China Honors Interprofessional Program (CHIP), an exchange effort taking nursing, PT and OT students from Creighton to Hebei, China, to work alongside clinicians and students there. In 2014, Creighton welcomed its first contingent of Chinese students in the Creighton Rehabilitation International Summer Program (CRISP).

Additionally, Creighton has the visiting scholars program, of which Yunyang and Jiang are a part. The program admits up to five students each semester who take courses and work in a clinical setting alongside Creighton PT and OT students.

In the coming months, Chinese visiting students with the CRISP program will be — along with their course and clinical experiences — providing cultural programs to share a bit of home with the Creighton community. The first presentation is slated for Wednesday, June 21 at noon in Room 105 of the Skutt Student Center.


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