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Relativism, rights and universalism

In this step, Dr Carwyn Hooper introduces the concepts of cultural relativism, universalism and human rights and how these

Many students return from electives reporting practices that they are not familiar with and some that they do not necessarily agree with.

Their challenge is to understand the context by questioning it gently and appropriately. This can be difficult as a student and as an outsider.

We live in an increasingly globalised world, but different cultures continue to vary significantly from one another. Students who opt to complete an elective abroad will inevitably experience forms of professional cultural practice that they are unfamiliar with.

Some of these different cultural practices can be challenging to witness and even more challenging to respond to. This is because some forms of professional practice will seem to be at odds with the ethical requirements, professional expectations and legal demands that an elective student is familiar with.

An understanding of the foundational concepts of cultural relativism, universalism and human rights, as described in the video above, will help elective students to frame their response when they encounter cultural practices that challenge their core beliefs.

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Preparing for an International Health Elective: Exploring Global Health, Ethics and Safety

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