Exploring Health Care


Program Dates: Spring 2023 (virtual): March 12-18 (Asia/Africa Time) | March 11-17 (US Time) || Summer 2023 (Silicon Valley): August 6-18
Open to: University students studying in a health-related field (pre-med, pharmacy, nursing, public health, etc)
Location: Spring: Virtual | Summer: Silicon Valley (in-person)
Application Deadline: Round 1 / Kyoto: Dec 4, 2022 (US Time) | Round 2: Jan 29, 2023 (US Time)

Over the course of 7 days, the Exploring Health Care (EHC) online program brings together 12-20 students from medical universities around the world to explore a wide variety of health care topics, from organ transplantation and palliative care to public health and medical education. The current COVID-19 pandemic will be used as a lens to examine its effects on health, the health care system, and social challenges more broadly. As participants reflect on their own career goals as future health care professionals, they will receive mentorship from peers and health care experts in the US from diverse backgrounds.

Information Sessions

Click the links below to join our info sessions on Zoom. Meet the program facilitators and alumni, learn about the program, and have a chance to ask questions!

  • November 18 (Fri) 4:00 PM US Pacific Standard Time | November 19 (Sat) morning Asia Time – Request Recording
  • January 20 (Fri) 4:00 PM US Pacific Standard Time | January 21 (Sat) morning Asia Time – Request Recording

Program Application

Continue reading below to learn more about the program, or click the blue APPLY button if you’re ready to start your application. After clicking the APPLY button, you will be taken to the application portal to create a user account. This will allow you to save your progress and return to continue your application at any time.


EHC was initially started in collaboration with Tokyo Women’s Medical and Tokyo Medical Universities in 1996. Over the past 25 years, VIA has brought over 700 university students from Asia studying in various health care fields to Silicon Valley to explore issues related to culture, society, diversity, and innovation in the context of health care. COVID-19 is an opportunity for aspiring health care professionals to connect and explore these very relevant topics in a new, innovative virtual format.

Click on the section headings or ( + ) circles below to view more content:

Virtual Program (March 2023)

$900 USD program participation fee includes:

  • Pre-program English support session
  • 30+ hours of live online presentations, discussions, and interactive workshops
  • Mentorship from peers and a variety of health care experts
  • Access to an online learning platform with additional information, resources, and opportunities to connect with peers

By joining the virtual program, you won’t have to worry about travel time and expenses, and you will still get:

  • Opportunities to discuss a variety of health care topics, related social issues, and current events
  • To build friendships across cultures
  • To expand your English vocabulary and communication skills in the context of health care and social issues
  • To join an international network of VIA health care programs alumni

Participants who join all online sessions and group discussions, and complete all activities on the online platform will receive a certificate of completion

Program Fee Reduction Funding

Enlight Fellowship:
Successful applicants for this fellowship will receive a $100-500 award towards the program tuition. In order to apply for the fellowship, you must complete an additional short essay in your application.

Compare to In-Person Program Costs (August 2020)

The $4,100 USD program fee included:

  • Accommodations
  • Transportation
  • Most scheduled activities
  • Welcome lunch & farewell dinner
  • 24-hour on-site staff support
Additional costs not included in the program fee:

  • Airfare (approx. $2,000 USD)
  • Travel insurance (approx. $25 USD)
  • Daily meals (approx. $400 USD)
  • Optional activities (approx. $200 USD)
  • Personal shopping expenses ($100+ USD)
  • Vaccinations (for shadowing students only)
Total cost to attend an in-person program: $6,800+

“I was most satisfied with the shadowing experience I had at Arbor Free Clinic. The student doctors and undergraduates were engaged in the clinical setting in a way much more than I expected. Their knowledge, their researching skills, their communication skills, their patient comforting skills, the coordination between each of the clinical members involved…everything was eye-opening.”  – EHC 2015 Participant

“I can’t forget the wonderful and diverse friends I made during this program. All of them were confident in representing their beliefs and opinions, and I was able to have productive conversations on both medical and personal topics. They really got me motivated in creating original opinions and I realized the importance of believing in what I believe.” –  EHC 2015 Participant

“The thing that I enjoyed most about this program was conversations. This includes not only Q&As with those who have us lectures, but also in daily conversations with peers, directors and coordinators! I was able to find someone who shares my interests for the future with me and that has unique and respectable traits. Thank you for great, life-inspiring conversations!” – EHC 2015 Participant

Application Timeline

There are two application deadlines (all dates in US time). This is to accommodate differences in everyone’s schedules and allow our staff time to review applications. There is no difference between applying during the first or second round but it’s always a good idea to try and get your application in early!

  • December Application Period
    (Kyoto University students will follow this timeline)

    • Application Deadline: December 4, 2022
    • Interviews: December 5-9
    • Results: December 12
    • Confirm Participation: December 16
  • January/February Application Period
    • Application Deadline: January 29, 2023
    • Interviews: January 30 – February 3
    • Results: February 6
    • Confirm Participation: February 10

Program Schedule

All online program activities will take place in the morning and end by early afternoon, with several breaks in between. Participants will also reflect individually and are invited to engage in optional activities to deepen connections with one another.

Morning & Early Afternoon Sessions Late Afternoon & Evening Activities
  • Icebreakers
  • Panel discussions and interactive workshops with guest speakers
  • Small-group discussions and reflections
  • Group work and individual work
  • Individual reflection
  • Optional activities to deepen connections among participants

Sample Topic for Each Day

  • Pre-Program Orientation
    • The orientation session will take place a few weeks before the program, to provide an overview of the course and introduction to the online platform (it will also be recorded).
    • English Support Session – This optional session is designed to boost your confidence with English, go over some misconceptions about English learning and English use in the US, and give you the chance to access and practice vocabulary terms that will be used during the program.
  • Day 1: Medical Education
    • Panel discussion with EHC alumni and US medical students on medical education in the US and Asia.
  • Day 2: Health Care, Disparities & Response to COVID-19 in the US
    • Panel discussion with health care professionals on how they have been responding to COVID-19.
  • Day 3: Work-Life Balance
    • Panel discussion with health care professionals on their perspectives on work-life balance.
  • Day 4: Organ Transplantation
    • Panel discussion on organ transplantation with organ recipients and donor family members.
  • Day 5: Palliative Care
    • Panel discussion on hospice and palliative care with a variety of health care professionals from nurses and social workers to chaplains and bereavement counselors.
  • Day 6: Mental Health
    • Interactive workshop on the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health.
  • Day 7: Women in Health Care
    • Panel discussion on gender bias in health care featuring diverse health care professionals.

Minimum Participation Requirements

In order to join this program and be able to participate fully, you will need:

  • Reliable access to the internet
  • A computer or mobile device with a camera and microphone, or headphones with a microphone
  • Ability to use the Zoom video call application
  • Ability to join all online sessions and group discussions
  • Ability to complete all required activities on the online platform

Application Process

To see if this program is a good match, we want to get to know you, your interests, experiences, and motivation for joining the program. The application includes 3 sections, to be completed in English:

  1. Section 1: Personal, University, and Contact Information
  2. Section 2: Short Answer Responses – Share your story and show your personality through short essays by answering the following questions (If you are applying for a program fee reduction, you must submit a video instead of written essay responses):
    • Why do you want to participate in the EHC program? What do you hope to learn or achieve? What do you hope to contribute?
    • Describe 1-2 health care topics or issues you are interested in, and why they interest you. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: organ transplantation, free clinics for underserved communities, geriatrics, the healthcare system (including insurance), the medical education system, etc.
    • Why did you choose to become a health care professional? How do you hope this program will impact your studies and career?
    • Help us get to know you better by writing 1-2 paragraphs about your hobbies, your character, and your plans after graduation.
  3. Enlight Fellowship Essay – Applicants applying for program fee reduction will also be asked to respond to this question.
    • How do you intend to apply what you learn in the future to “pay it forward” and contribute to the health care profession and community?
  4. Next Steps – ​Interview: The final step will be a 10-15 minute interview on Zoom with the Program Director. If your application is selected, the program director will follow up with you to confirm the interview time.