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NUHS Students and Faculty Embark on Transformative Trip to South Korea

by Jun 19, 2024

Home » Featured Stories » NUHS Students and Faculty Embark on Transformative Trip to South Korea

Temple on the Coast, Haedong Yonggungsa, Busan, South Korea. The temple if famous for “making wishes come true.”

National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) students and faculty recently completed a trip to South Korea that allowed them to learn more about traditional Eastern medicine. The trip from April 20 to May 4 is part of the NUHS’s ongoing partnership with Pusan National University that began in 2019. Over the past four years, this collaboration has facilitated a series of educational exchanges, including online and in-person lectures and certificate programs. 

“During the trip, students got the chance to witness the latest developments, skills, and technologies in traditional Eastern medicine in a way that’s not possible here,” said Dr. Hyundo Kim, Assistant Dean of the Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Program, who accompanied students on the trip. “They gained skills and experiences that will benefit them throughout their careers.” 

Ten NUHS students participated in the trip, which included a diverse array of activities in Busan for the first week and Seoul for the latter half of the trip. They attended lectures at Pusan National University and Kyunghee University, visited Jaseng Hospital and its research facilities, explored herbal dispensaries and markets, and experienced a Templestay at Tongdosa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A Templestay is a cultural program offered in numerous South Korean Buddhist temples. Additionally, students visited several private Korean medicine clinics. 

Michelle Mathew, ND, who’s currently a Master’s student in the acupuncture program, was among the students who participated.  

 “I’ve personally always loved the idea of traveling to learn different healing modalities that vary by culture, so this trip was an easy ‘yes’ for me,” Dr. Mathew said. “The trip reignited my love for herbal medicine and showed me different ways to practice acupuncture and botanical medicine. The technology in South Korea is much more advanced in their clinics and hospitals, facilitating the delivery of ancient medicine in a more modernized way.” 

One of the standout moments for Dr. Mathew was the Templestay at Tongdosa.  

“That experience was very moving and is hard to put into words. It was healing being tucked in the mountains, meditating, and reconnecting with ourselves,” she said. 

While students covered the majority of expenses, for Dr. Mathew, the trip was well worth the expense. 

“I would encourage students in any of NUHS’s professional programs to consider attending the trip. There are many opportunities to collaborate and strengthen our knowledge of holistic medicine,” she said. 

Students outside of the acupuncture program also participated in the trip, including NUHS naturopathic medicine student, Maame-Mensima Horne, LMT, CHt. Her interest in Korean Medicine was sparked by seminars she attended during her first trimester at NUHS.

“I was intrigued by Neuropsychiatry, SAAM acupuncture, and Sasang Korean Constitutional Medicine workshops,” she said. “Attending the seminars inspired me to further explore Korean Medicine firsthand and see ways that I could incorporate these practice modalities into naturopathic medicine.” 

The trip significantly expanded Horne’s understanding of what is possible for doctors of Traditional Medicine.  

“I appreciated seeing the balance of Eastern and Western diagnostics to inform clinical practice. Additionally, I appreciated seeing Korean Medicine hospitals that are very successful and provide support to many patients globally,” she said. 

For Horne, the highlights of the trip were numerous.  

“I enjoyed the morning hikes in the parks and mountains, the food, and the friendly people. The Templestay at Tongdosa was a profound experience. Visiting clinics, hospitals, and herbal dispensaries gave me a deeper understanding of Korean Medicine,” she said. 

To fund the trip, Horne, who also works as a massage therapist, used social media to raise support from her community. The Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Student Association also tried to fundraise.  

Horne emphasized the transformative impact of the trip.  

“It changed my perspective on how I want to practice naturopathic medicine and provided a more clinical understanding of Traditional Asian Medicine, she said. 

Looking ahead, the partnership between NUHS and Pusan National University continues to thrive. Four students from Pusan National University are scheduled to visit NUHS in July, where they will observe chiropractic medicine, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and herbal medicine classes. Dr. Kim is optimistic about future trips, noting that NUHS plans to send students to South Korea every two or three years, depending on demand. 


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