When I was 16, I traveled overseas via the People to People Student Ambassador Program, an organization founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to foster a dialogue between America's future leaders and the world around them. Still in operation today, the People to People program sends young people around the globe; in my case, we traveled from Miami, Fla., to Ireland, England, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Prior to heading overseas, we spent a few days in Washington, D.C., learning more about our own country's history so we could share that knowledge with those we encountered on our trip.
Not only did we get to visit an array of tourist attractions in each country, we also got an inside look at each country's government and actually stayed in the private homes of families in three of those countries. Looking back, I remember all the studying we did of different cultures and customs in preparation for our visits. We brainstormed about what types of questions those we met would ask — about our lives at home and about our country.
Remember, until our plane landed in Shannon, Ireland later that summer in 1986, our ideas about the rest of the world beyond U.S. borders were shaped by the textbooks we were provided in school and the media we watched on television (I have to admit this was all pre-Internet and World Wide Web). Turns out, we need not have been so concerned after all, because the similarities we shared with each person along the way far outweighed any differences. What a gift that trip was for me as a person, to be able to take those global lessons and apply them to life here at home.
Many U.S.-based architecture firms and contractors have completed international projects, and more and more U.S. healthcare systems are expanding overseas. To that end, many designers and contractors are applying things they've incorporated into international projects to their work on the home-front and vice versa. For more on those global trends, see page 60.
There is a whole world out there we can all learn from.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
P.S. Don't forget to add the Healthcare Building Expo at the Commercial Construction Show in Orlando to your June 2008 calendar. Hope to see you there. HBI
Shannon Powers-Jones is the editor of Healthcare Building Ideas magazine. You can reach her at 803.396.8516 or by e-mail at email@example.com.Healthcare Building Ideas 2007-08 December-January;4(2):6