group photo of CMSU students

Silvia Lin learned so many things on her recent education visit to Salus University that she had to divide the information up into three parts —  class lectures, hands-on training and clinical observations.

Taiwan students Silvia Lin and Ruby XuangLin was part of a group of students from Chung Shan Medical University (CSMU) in Taichung, Taiwan, who spent most of July on the University’s Elkins Park, Pennsylvania campus, being introduced to the health science programs the University offers.

The students were hosted by the Department of International and Continuing Education (DICE) in collaboration with Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, director of the Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) department; and Giri Sundar, MPhil, PhD, CCC-A, FAAA, director of Distance Education programs, and Radhika Aravamudhan, PhD, dean of the University’s Osborne College of Audiology (OCA).

“All of those involved in the implementation of this program agreed it was a highlight of our year,” said Melissa Vitek, OD '95, FAAO, dean of International and Continuing Education. “The students were so eager to learn and fully appreciated every opportunity provided to them both academically and culturally. We miss them all tremendously already.”

Students were exposed to clinical methodology and learned how the audiology and SLP disciplines were applied in the educational and healthcare settings in the United States.

“The hands-on training is very special to us because in Taiwan, we don’t have many chances to do this,” said Lin, who hopes to pursue further study in audiology after she graduates from CSMU. “And, with the clinical observation, students here practice for a long time. We don’t have standard patients in Taiwan and I’m jealous of that. I think I can take this experience back to Taiwan and describe it to my classmates.”

Dr. Mittelman, Giri Sundar, Taiwan students and Rahika AravamudhanRuby Xuang, who is a sophomore at CSMU studying speech-language pathology. “Originally I wanted to study pharmacy,” said Xuang. “But I chose SLP because I like children and I like interacting with people. I found a job where I can help make their lives better. I like what SLPs do.”

She used the trip, she said, to explore opportunities for further study, possibly in the United States, and to confirm SLP is the perfect route she wants to take.

During the fourth and final week on campus, the audiology and the speech-language pathology students participated in a combined interprofessional curriculum designed and implemented through collaborative efforts by both Dr. Sundar and Serianni.

For both Lin and Xuang, it was their first trip to the U.S. As a result, the language was a bit of a barrier, and both admitted they still have room to improve their English skills. But that did not hamper their ability to understand, learn and retain the information they were gathering during their stay.

“Initially I was a little worried about my English,” said Lin as she described that sometimes professional words can be difficult, but nothing she can’t fix.

Both students gained valuable information they plan to use to determine if they want to pursue advanced degrees in their individual career paths stateside.

Taiwan students with Bob Serianni"I think America is the most advanced country for SLP study,” said Xuang. “I’ve learned a lot here.” Taiwan has always followed in the U.S. framework and regulations for the SLP profession and is more advanced, which is the main reason Xuang plans on furthering her education here.

However, it wasn’t all work and no play for the Taiwan contingent during the trip. The group also got the benefit of what the American culture has to offer in Philadelphia and the East Coast region. Included in those experiences were attending the Fourth of July parade and fireworks display in Glenside, Pennsylvania; exploring Chestnut Hill’s quaint neighborhood; visiting Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey; taking in Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Pennsylvania; touring historic Philadelphia, including stops at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House, Franklin Court and Reading Terminal; attending a Philadelphia Phillies game; and visiting Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

In addition, those students interested in SLP and audiology met at the Abington School District administration building and at Copper Beach Elementary School in Glenside, Pennsylvania, to talk with practitioners working in the school system. And, they had the opportunity to observe patient exams at the Pennsylvania Ear Institute (PEI) and the Speech-Language Institute (SLI) at Salus.

Hearing aid manufacturer Sivantos Inc. in Piscataway, New Jersey, also hosted four of the CSMU students, who were accompanied by Salus audiology instructor Aaron Roman, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA. Students were able to see firsthand the operation and to have ear mold impressions made of their own ears.

Taiwan students with Dr. MittelmanAt the end of their four-week visit, the students were treated to an on-campus breakfast, where they heard from Salus president Michael H. Mittelman, OD ‘80, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE, and provost Barry Eckert, PhD.

Dr. Mittelman expressed his pleasure and pride at having the students on campus and challenged them to take what they learned here at utilize it their native country.

“When we bring students such as you to Salus, you raise our benchmark in many ways, not just culturally, but you also raise us academically because you challenge us to really be at the top of our game,” he said. “You’ve been taught by the best in the country in each one of their specialties. The information and the techniques that you’ve learned are state of the art. The folks that taught you are writing the book on how all this stuff is done. So, your challenge is to take what you’ve learned and apply it appropriately in your practices when you get back to Taiwan. Now you become the teacher.”