30 Great European Universities for Studying Healthcare Abroad

By Iris Stone
Posted November, 2014

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If you’re interested in studying healthcare, you don’t have to limit yourself to universities in the United States. Although the U.S. is known for housing some of the world’s best schools, Europe is also a hub of scholastic activity. If you have considered studying abroad for a few weeks, a few months, as part of an exchange program, or even pursuing an entire degree overseas, it is worth doing the research to find the best school for you. Thankfully, we have already done all the footwork by compiling recent data from sources like the QS World Rankings and UNISTATS.

Methodology

We started with more than 170 top European universities, as listed on the QS World Rankings site, and then collected data on seven points: percentage of international students, percentage of international faculty, student-to-faculty ratio, faculty value in the life sciences/medicine, university reputation with employers, and number of medical programs available to bachelor’s degree students. For universities in the United Kingdom, we took advantage of data on the UNISTATS website by also ranking them according to the average student satisfaction in courses related to the health sciences and percentage of health sciences students employed/furthering their education within six months of graduation. Note that if this data was not available for schools, it did not help or hurt their outcome in our ranking.

After equally weighting all categories, we ended up with the following list of 30 European universities. You may be excited to see that in many cases (at least compared to U.S. private schools) it is less expensive to attend school overseas. You will also find links to the schools’ websites, all of which are in English. Happy reading, and if it works out, bon voyage!

30. University of York

Heslington, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $24,000/yr – $26,000

The University of York is one of the youngest institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom, and is one of just six colleges under 50 years old that consistently make world ranking lists. Students enjoy the extremely inclusive student atmosphere as well as the stunning architecture, which includes Roman, Viking, and Medieval buildings. York is also a research-intensive university that has one of the highest research incomes per capita in the UK. Popular areas of research include immunology and infection, HIV/AIDS, neuroimaging, and other topics of interest to healthcare professionals. Healthcare students often choose to major in Biochemistry, Biology, the Biomedical Sciences, Biological and Medicinal Chemistry, Genetics, Medical Sciences, or Nursing.

29. University of Nottingham

Nottingham, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $20,000/yr – $22,000/yr

The University of Nottingham is one of the most global institutions in Britain, and boasts additional campuses in China and Malaysia. It scores very well on measures of the percentages of both international students and international faculty, an indication of its commitment to developing a strong worldwide presence. Nottingham also has a very favorable reputation with companies that employ recent grads, and nearly 90% of students are fully employed or are continuing their studies within six months of graduation. The institution offers a number of essential courses for students interested in healthcare, such as Biochemistry and Genetics, Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Food Science and Nutrition, Human Genetics, and Medicine.

28. University of Warwick

Coventry, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $22,000/yr – $24,000/yr

The University of Warwick is a top-rated school in several categories, including the percentage of international students and reputation with employers. The school participates with the International Foundation Programme and offers over 300 international students access to campus, and in addition hosts more than 500 overseas students for study abroad opportunities. Healthcare students at Warwick can select from an array of courses, including Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Health and Social Policy, Medical Microbiology and Virology, and Psychology. Like York, Warwick is one of the younger universities in the UK but has developed a strong international reputation in that time. Priding itself for its entrepreneurial spirit, Warwick champions independent thinking and commitment to education.

27. University College Dublin

Dublin, Ireland

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Tuition: $24,000/yr – $26,000/yr

UCD is one of the most research-intensive universities in Europe and has taken on a pivotal role in the development of modern Ireland. It proudly claims a number of successful alumni, including James Joyce! UCD has intentionally sought to establish a strong global reputation and has been ranked as a top 20 school for measures of both international students and faculty. Students can choose from more than 60 undergraduate courses in both traditional and professional healthcare subjects, such as Human Nutrition; Medicine; Biomedical, Health, and Life Sciences; Physiotherapy; Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Neuroscience; Health and Performance Science; Nursing; Midwifery; and Radiography.

26. Technische Universität München

München, Germany

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Tuition: $2,000/yr

The only German university to make the list, TUM has been repeatedly named the number one technical university in the country. It is also widely known for its commitment to international education, offering double degree agreements with more than 20 universities and partnerships with more than 170 institutions worldwide. Out of approximately 36,000 students, nearly 10% come from abroad, making the school a magnet for students from all over the world. TUM has high rankings for student-to-faculty ratio, employer reputation, and life sciences/medicine faculty value. Healthcare students are often attracted to the school’s Biochemistry, Nutrition, and Sports Science programs, and also have the opportunity to go on to graduate and professional programs in the health sciences.

25. Cardiff University

Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $20,000/yr – $22,000

Ranked in the top 2% of universities in the world, Cardiff stands among an elite group of institutions for its superior dedication to teaching and research. Among all the healthcare courses it offers, the university offers top 5 programs in Anatomy and Physiology, Dentistry, Neuroscience, Optometry, and Pharmacy, plus top 10 programs in Nursing and Psychology. Nearly 85% of students report a high degree of overall satisfaction with their time at Cardiff, and more than 90% are accepted into graduate programs or find gainful employment within six months of finishing their degrees. Many students are attracted to Cardiff’s flexible course structures, which allow room to study abroad, tailor students’ programs to specific interests and ambitions, and delay choosing a final degree program until the end of the first year.

24. University of Groningen

Groningen, Netherlands

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Tuition: $8,000/yr – $10,000/yr

Thanks to its location in the heart of Europe, the University of Groningen is an ideal destination for students from all over the continent and beyond. American students feel right at home on campus and can attend classes from over 100 degree programs – all taught in English. Staying true to 400 years of academic prowess, Groningen honors its rich traditions with interdisciplnary scholarship in every field. One of its key areas of research is healthy aging – a topic of undeniable interest to healthcare scholars. Courses available in English include Chemistry, Medicine (Global Health or Molecular Medicine) and Psychology.

23. Queen’s University Belfast

Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $20,000/yr – $22,000

World-class education and research come together at Queen’s University Belfast, a school with the prestigious honor of being a member of the Russell Group of top research-intensive universities in the UK. The highly decorated institution has been named the Times Higher Education Entrepreneurial University of the year, The Outstanding Research Team of the year, and was given the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education. Top areas of research include cancer and pharmaceuticals, and the school collaborated with local health and social services trusts to lead the initiative for the Improvement of Cancer Services in Northern Ireland.

22. Universität Zürich

Zürich, Switzerland

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Tuition: $2,000/yr

The University of Zurich has an admirable history that stretches back to the days of protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli, although the school didn’t officially lay down roots until the 1800s. Comprised of 140 special institutes serving 24,000 students, the university is the largest in Switzerland. The school offers a wealth of academic resources, including nine museums and collections, the archive collections and libraries of the Federal Institute of Technology, and research facilities that place particular emphasis on molecular biology and brain research. Although highly rated in many areas, Zurich claims particular strengths in its percentage of international faculty and value of life sciences and medicine faculty.

21. Université de Genève

Geneva, Switzerland

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Tuition: $2,000/yr

Founded in the 16th century by Jean Calvin, the University of Geneva has a long history of academic excellence and dedication to both research and service. Most faculty deliver classes in French, so this school is ideal for healthcare students who also have a strong proficiency in this second language. Geneva receives top scores across the international students, international faculty, and life sciences/medicine faculty value categories, which all serve to highlight the university’s proficiency in global pedagogy. The school has a strong international exchange program that welcomes students from all over the globe and allows them to choose between “Study in French,” “Improve Your French,” and “Study in English” options.

20. University of Glasgow

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $20,000/yr – $22,000

Building on a reputation that stretches back to 1451, the University of Glasgow fosters a community of 16,500 undergraduate students each year who desire to achieve a first-class education. Glasgow is a diverse campus and welcomes students from 120 countries, making it an attractive choice for those who want to study abroad. More than 90% of students report overall satisfaction with their time at Glasgow, undoubtedly due in no small part to the top-notch athletic facilities, extensive library collections, student services (including career counseling), and abundant urban entertainment options in UK’s 3rd largest city. As an academic powerhouse, Glasgow also helps nearly 90% of students find employment or graduate study within six months of graduation.

19. Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $20,000/yr – $22,000

Newcastle University is a highly rated institution that has achieved 5 Stars in all eight QS categories: research, employability, teaching, facilities, internationalization, innovation, specialist criteria, and access. Distinguished professors are able to impart in-demand knowledge and skills to their students, who find overwhelming success in applying for jobs after graduation. Healthcare students apply to Newcastle to train in Biochemistry, Biomedical and Biomolecular Sciences, Chemistry, Dentistry, Genetics, Medicine, Nutrition and Food, Pharmocology, Physiological Sciences, or Psychology, some of which include options for accelerated study. The Medical program in particular is one of the UK’s finest, with a quality confirmed by the General Medical Council and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

18. University of Copenhagen

Copenhagen, Denmark

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Tuition: $0/yr

The oldest and largest institution of higher education in Denmark, the University of Copenhagen is home to 27,000 students – including 2,300 international students. The university is comprised of six major departments, each home to a variety of institutes, laboratories, centers, and museums. A renowned university, Copenhagen has produced eight Nobel Prize winners and is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities – an alliance which includes such familiar names as Oxford, Yale, and the University of California Berkeley. Students who are fluent in Danish can take courses across the health sciences, including Biology, Pharmacy, Food and Nutrition, IT and Health, Molecular Biomedicine, and Dentistry, although there are also individual classes available in English for short-term exchange students.

17. University of Southampton

Southampton, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $20,000/yr – $22,000/yr

People often choose the University of Southampton for its lush surroundings and incomparable access to nature; the New Forest, the Isle of Wight, and the beaches of the south coast are all close at hand, while hundreds of acres of dense woodlands border the main campus. Southampton is also a bustling retail hub and a busy destination for avid sailors, in addition to being one of the safest cities in the UK. The school itself has a more than 87% satisfaction rate among healthcare students and regularly places more than 90% of such students in jobs or further study within six months of graduation. The university has a solid offering of bachelor’s programs in the health sciences, including Biochemistry; Biology; Biomedical Sciences; Healthcare: Management, Policy, and Research; Healthcare Science, Health Sciences, Medicine, Midwifery, Pharmacology, Physiotherapy, and Psychology.

16. University of Birmingham

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $20,000/yr – $22,000/yr

The University of Birmingham is one of the most popular destinations for international students, offering more than 4,000 spots to students from abroad out of a total membership of approximately 28,000. The university works to cultivate a vibrant global community defined by leadership in academics and research. A founding member of the Russell Group of Institutions, Birmingham places particular emphasis on STEM subjects and is a leadership in investigating cancer treatments, brain injuries, and healthy aging. The school places a priority on being accessible and has offices in India, China, and the United States (Chicago), making it convenient for American students to apply for study abroad and exchange programs.

15. Trinity College Dublin

Dublin, Ireland

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Tuition: $24,000/yr – $26,000/yr

As Ireland’s premier university, Trinity College Dublin was founded in 1592 and modeled after the oldest colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. Students who travel to Dublin to study will receive an authentic European experience, as this capital city is characterized by cobbled squares, historic buildings, and large playing fields. Of course students will also benefit from a number of modern amenities and facilities, including the Science Gallery, the Biomedical Sciences Institute, and a library containing over 5 million volumes – including the Book of Kells! 17,000 students represent 120 nationalities, and the school is ranked in the top 10 for its percentage of international faculty. The school also has a great repoire with employers and places alumni all around Ireland and beyond.

14. University of Liverpool

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $20,000/yr – $22,000/yr

Liverpool is home to more than just a popular football (soccer) team; ranked in the top 1% of universities and a member of the prestigious Russell Group, the University of Liverpool draws students from far and wide. The university is considered a leader in research and global scholarship, and its extensive distance education program affords access to thousands of students around the world each year. Liverpool also has an academic partnership with a joint venture institution in Suzhou, China, which gives international students even more opportunities to study abroad. Those pursing healthcare report overall satisfaction rates above 90%, with a similar percentage of students finding employment or pursuing gradute school within six months of graduation.

13. Queen Mary University of London

London, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $22,000/yr – $24,000/yr

The Queen Mary University of London, or QMUL for short, is an outstanding institution located in the heart of England’s capital city. The city’s only fully-integrated residential campus, students benefit from access to an effervescent urban atmosphere while maintaining a singular campus at which to study and call home. Healthcare students can choose from courses such as Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Dentistry, Genetics, Global Health, and many others. The School of Medicine and Dentistry is the top ranked college in London, making it an ideal choice for undergraduate and graduate students alike. In addition to high placement rates after graduation, QMUL also boasts one of the top 10 starting salaries for alumni in the UK.

12. The University of Manchester

Manchester, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $22,000/yr – $24,000/yr

The University of Manchester is a world-class institution that has played a role in some of history’s most important innovations, from the invention of the modern computer to the splitting of the atom. Manchester has continued to rise in the global rankings over the years, a testament to its ambitious agenda to become a top 25 university in the world within just a few years. The university receives high scores in the employer reputation, international students, and international faculty categories and boasts a large population of prestigious faculty and alumni – including several Nobel Laureates. More than 90% of students in the health sciences, from Anatomical Sciences to Psychology, report overall satisfaction with their academic experience.

11. University of St. Andrews

St. Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $24,000/yr – $26,000/yr

As the oldest university in Scotland, St. Andrews has upheld a tradition of academic excellence for almost six centuries. Much of the university, including a modern library and many academic schools, are centrally located so that students gain full access to the benefits of the town. The 9,000 faculty and students make up a large percentage of the city – which has a population of just 20,000 – making it a close-knit community and a true “college town.” Students can explore courses within the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Medicine, and Psychology and Neuroscience, all while enjoying a backdrop of picturesque Medeival architecture.

10. Imperial College London

St. London, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $38,000/yr – $40,000/yr

More than many of the universities on this list, the Imperial College London has a strong emphasis on science, engineering, and medicine research, with a particular focus on their application to industry, healthcare, and commerce. Students benefit from faculty members who act as government consultants, serve on important professional bodies, and act as representatives of their fields in the media. Most healthcare students are attracted to the interdisciplinary courses offered within the department of Engineering, Natural Sciences, and Medicine, such as Biomedical Science, Medicinal Chemistry, and Medicine. Many programs also give students the opportunity to study abroad or take a year to work in industry in order to further hone their skills.

9. Maastricht University

Maastricht, Netherlands

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Tuition: $10,000/yr – $12,000/yr

As a fully bilingual university, Maastricht is one of the most sought after destinations for travelling students. Although faculty use both Dutch and English, most classes are taught in English to facilitate ease of learning for students from abroad. Over 47% of students and 30% of faculty come from other countries, percentages that place the university near the top in the international student and international faculty categories. The school has a variety of international partnerships and student exchange agreements and highly encourages students to study abroad. Maastricht also scores very well on measures of life sciences and medicine faculty value and employer reputation, two solid reasons for its apt slogan, “Leading in Learning.”

8. University College London

London, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $24,000/yr – $26,000/yr

The University College London, or “UCL” for short, is one of the top-ranked universities in the world, with excellent programs spanning all subjects. In addition to high numbers of international students and professors (nearly 40% of students are from abroad), many also travel to UCL to benefit from its remarkably small student-to-faculty ratio, which emphasizes small group learning. Although the compact campus takes up just a small space in London, educational opportunities abound for miles amidst some of the best libraries, museums, and archives in Europe. Students in the health sciences can choose from a plethora of courses, including Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Human Sciences, Medical Physics, Medicinal Chemistry, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Psychology.

7. University of Bristol

Bristol, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $24,000/yr – $26,000/yr

The University of Bristol has a unique history that started with just five professors and fewer than 100 students. The school was the first to admit men and women on equal footing, and its commitment to unbiased academic quality has helped it achieve a reputation as a formidable institution. With one of the widest offerings of academic subjects in the UK, Bristol provides an array of courses to students interested in healthcare, such as Cancer Biology and Immunology, Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Dentistry, Medical Microbiology, Pathology and Microbiology, Pharmacology, Physiological Science, and more. Because of its location in the heart of Bristol, students will find plenty to occupy their time while not in class, including shopping at stylish boutiques and going boating at Harbourside.

6. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

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Tuition: $2,000/yr

Despite its incredibly French moniker, which suggests an education only open to those of a single language, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is one of the most international universities in Europe. Ranked #1 and #2 for percentages of international faculty and students, respectively, EPFL draws its 15,000 students from more than 120 nationalities each year. The university is also highly ranked for its comfortable student-to-faculty ratio and quite positive reputation with employers. Bachelor’s degrees (of which there are only 13) are intermediary diplomas and are meant to serve as stepping-stones to graduate programs. As such, healthcare students initially have few options and can choose Chemistry or Life Sciences, but may go on to choose from a wider selection at higher levels.

5. University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $22,000/yr – $24,000/yr

The University of Edinburgh is a large institution of more than 20,000 students, which offers over 500 academic courses across approximately 100 disciplines. Edinburgh has a widely respected reputation for excellence and encourages international scholarship – a goal facilitated by its partnership with such universities as CalTech, McGill University, Peking University, and the National University of Singapore. With the largest population of international students of any Scottish institution, Edinburgh attracts scholars from far and wide who wish to study at one of the most architecturally beautiful cities in Northern Europe. It is also one of the best-rated schools for faculty value in the life sciences and medicine, and its nearly a dozen courses in healthcare achieve student satisfaction ratings above 90%.

4. King’s College London

London, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $26,000/yr – $28,000/yr

The royally named university provides a royal education; frequently named among the top colleges in the world, KCL hosts more than 25,000 students a year from 140 countries. A large number of its departments are ranked some of the best in Britain, while the majority of its faculty are considered to be in the top 10% of their respective fields. KCL has a strong reputation across several disciplines, particularly in the health sciences, and offers a variety of traditional and professional programs for students interested in healthcare. The college has already initiated a $1.67 billion redevelopment program and plans to raise another $835 million to support research in neuroscience, mental health, cancer, and children’s health, among other areas.

3. University of Cambridge

Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $26,000/yr – $28,000/yr

As one of the oldest universities in the world, and one of the largest in the UK, “Cambridge” is a well-recognized name that conjures up thoughts of fascinating museum collections, stately libraries, and superior intellectual achievement. Students enjoy lectures taught by some of the world’s foremost experts, as well as both formal and informal personalized learning opportunities. Staff and students within each college interact with each other regularly, creating a cross-disciplinary experience that encourages a free exchange of ideas. Cambridge has one of the best student-to-faculty ratios in Europe, highly rated faculty in the life sciences and medicine, and a strong employer reputation that leads 100% of graduates to further study or full employment within six months of graduation.

2. ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

Zürich, Switzerland

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Tuition: $2,000/yr

Largely considered the best university in continental Europe, ETH Zürich has a reputation that reaches far beyond its Swiss borders. ETH emphasizes a well-rounded education with a solid scientific foundation, with the hopes of preparing graduates for work in industry, commerce, research, the public sector, or any other realm, whether as entrepreneurs or scientists. ETH is an ideal location for international students, thanks to a largely bilingual faculty (70% are from abroad) and strong employer reputation, which connects graduates with a variety of international companies in Zurich. It is worth noting, however, that almost all undergraduate classes are taught in German, while graduate classes more often include English instruction. Healthcare students who can speak Germany may major in Biology, Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Sciences, or Interdisciplinary Sciences.

1. University of Oxford

Oxford, England, United Kingdom

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Tuition: $30,000/yr – $32,000/yr

As the oldest university in the English-speaking world, Oxford lays claim to nine centuries of continued academic excellence and renowned global scholarship. Out of 18,000 students, nearly a quarter come from overseas and represent more than 130 nationalities. Out of 39 self-governing colleges, 30 admit undergraduate students, and all students benefit from a diverse range of resources on campus, including famous libraries, museums, and collections. Oxford holds the #1 ranking in employer reputation and life sciences/medicine faculty value, and nears the top of the list for student-to-faculty ratio and percentage of international faculty. 93% of Oxford students report being satisfied with their courses – much higher than English university students and other Russell Group schools. Healthcare students often choose to pursue such courses as Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, and Medicine.

Sources:

QS World University Rankings Methodology
Top Universities QS World Rankings
UNISTATS


Additional Resources


About the Author:

Iris Stone started working as a part-time freelance writer in 2011, and her success led her to found a high-quality writing and editing firm a few years later. Her work has included content on medicine, healthcare, and education, although her interests are wide and varied. Prior to breaking into the freelance biz, Iris worked in a number of healthcare-related settings, and she still maintains an interest in healthy living. She is currently attending George Mason University and is majoring in Political Science. Check out her Google+ profile.

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