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Spain Provides New Opportunity for Pharmacy

by Kathryn Sill, Public Relations Writer

This summer, a group of students from the Cedarville University School of Pharmacy will become the school’s first students to study pharmacy abroad when they spend four weeks in Valencia, Spain, from May 23-June 24.

A coastal town along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, Valencia is the third-largest city in Spain and one of the country’s premier places for the study of the arts, history and sciences.

The group is comprised of first-year professional pharmacy students Belinda Darkwah (Kansas City, Missouri) and Travis Mentch (Waukesha, Wisconsin) as well as second-year student Ruth Choi (Hendersonville, Tennessee) and third-year student Lauren Williams (Cleveland, Ohio). The students will be accompanied on the trip by Melody Hartzler, Pharm.D., associate professor of pharmacy practice.

“This study abroad opportunity provides a unique experience for our students to be immersed in a new language and culture,” said Hartzler. “ This program is designed to increase the students’ own cultural self-awareness and develop personal leadership skills to help them become more effective in an interdependent world. Whether in patient care, the pharmaceutical industry, missions, or working with colleagues across the globe, our graduates need the ability to recognize and bridge cultural gaps.” 

Study abroad opportunities are rare for graduate-level pharmacy programs as most often the core required curriculum is difficult to offer outside of the United States. 

But thanks to a partnership between the Institute of Spanish Studies (ISS) and Cedarville University’s international programs, Hartzler has been able to form professional contacts in Valencia to provide students with a new and exciting experience.

The ISS is based in Valencia and has offered study abroad courses for 66 years in language, literature, history, geography and recently, pharmacy. 

While in Valencia, students will be enrolled in pharmacy elective courses including health behaviors and beliefs, holistic diabetes management and an optional Spanish for medical professionals course.

This offering of holistic diabetes management will also allow students to tour hospitals and learn about a government run health care system that differs from the American health care system, particularly related to diabetes care.

“Learning about pharmacy in another culture will allow the students to see how the role of a pharmacist differs in each country,” Hartzler said.

In addition to gaining practical experience in pharmacy, students will also get insight into the Spanish culture by living with Spanish-speaking families during their stay. 

“I am looking forward to challenging and expanding my Spanish-speaking skills with my host family, learning about Spanish culture and traveling to other nearby countries while I'm in Europe,” Williams said. 

According to the United States Census Bureau, Spanish is the second-most spoken language in the United States, and the ability to speak both languages can be key for health care professionals to communicate with patients. 

Students may apply at For additional information, contact Dr. Melody Hartzler at

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,711 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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