Dr. Yussif Mijirah Dokurugu, a Ghanaian faculty Advisor of Student Associations of Global Health at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), has said that youth who decide to stay in America illegally undergo various grades of stress and fear in life.
“You going to the U.S and not coming back will make you go through a lot of stress and do the meaner jobs; you can make money, yet you cannot come back home because you do not have documents to go back to the States again – which is an opportunity you have lost forever,” he said.
During an orientation session at the Education-USA office in Kumasi for Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) students who will be embarking on an exchange programme to FAMU in Florida USA, Dr. Dokurugu – who is also an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, advised that “It is always good to travel and make sure to return home, and apply again when the need arises.”
He urged participating students to take the exchange programme as an opportunity to explore and learn new health methods and practices which will help grow Ghana’s health systems after the they have returned home.
“I entreat all students and participants on the exchange programme to learn as much as they can of the new trends in health practices and come back to make a change in the lives of people and the entire society,” he said.
About 26 pharmacy students from the KNUST and four professional workers will be embarking on the second edition of the Advance Pharmacy Initiative in FAMU this year.
The exchange programme, which has been described as an ambitious agenda for deepening bilateral relations between Ghana and Florida, USA, through health education for university students, will be targeted at allowing students and participants to acquaint themselves with current trends in global health care systems.
It will focus on disease epidemics, modern pharmaceutical practices, cultural exchanges and environmental issues, and will be aimed at improving the knowledge capacity of the students about health systems to enable them give back to their country upon successful completion of the programme.
The lead initiator of the programme, FAMU’s College of Pharmacy, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with its sister university in Ghana – KNUST – to explore exchange programmes in the area of pharmacy education for students from both countries to study abroad, relating to academic and research affiliations.
Dr. Dukurugu, explaining about the initiative, confirmed that it is an ambitious agenda being explored by the school: “One that the college is tackling through an academic and cultural exchanges to broaden the horizons of the next generation of health care practitioners”.
He anticipates that the selected students from both sides will be offered the chance to get a better understanding of best practices and systems that are in place in both nations and allow them to bring back new ideas.
Dr. Dukurugu added: “Overseas study adventures provide students with distinct benefits, as they develop responsibility, initiative and accountability.
“I want them to learn as much as possible to be able to contribute positively to the health care delivery of every single person they may come across in their future practices back at home.”
He indicated that the engagement will explore various areas of collaboration, including student exchange programmes and partnerships with other celebrated health experts in the United States of America.
“As the Institute of Public Health within the College continues to grow, this internship programme will provide an opportunity for FAMU to cultivate to a diverse workforce of individuals to be able to analyse public health issues both at home and abroad,” said Dr. Dukurugu.
The programme, he said, has been designed to give the students first-hand experience in global health issues. It will also provide them with a spring-board to compete for jobs in the field.
“This will position participating students to be fully equipped for employment in their selected programmes, governmental and non-governmental agencies where a knowledge of international systems is pertinent to jobs, even in the USA,” he remarked.
As part of the exchange programme, Dr. Dokurugu also brought in 27 USA students and faculty members for a 10 days educational and cultural immersion experience in March this year.
Marilyn Owusu, Educational Advisor at the Education USA in Kumasi, said taking the students through various steps and documentation processes as part of preparation for the travelling visa application interview indicates that to apply for a student visa, applicants should have all the necessary documents like any other visa applicant.
She said: “One has to pay a visa fee of US$160 at any GT Bank branch for applicants in Kumasi, fill out the DS-160 form, schedule for a visa appointment online, and pay for Student Exchange Visitor Processing Fee (SEVIS).
“Even as you are going for an exchange programme, you will need your transcript to show and prove that you are a student of KNUST and academically good,” she remarked.