Finding a Dream Abroad: Opening a Health Center for LGBTQ+ Youth

When Jaila Allen graduates from Brandeis University, she wants to open a healthcare center that serves the LGBTQ+ community. Her goal is to help individuals come to terms with their identity.

Part of Jaila’s inspiration in opening a healthcare center stems from her fall semester in Copenhagen, where she studied with the Public Health program.

“Denmark has a reputation of being a welfare state, with resources such as free access to hospitals, paid extended maternity leave, and education. I wanted to see if this country lived up to its reputation. Also, with Copenhagen being known as one of the most progressive cities in the world, I wanted to experience their views of queer people and people of color first-hand.”

Jaila Allen Finding a Dream Abroad

Jaila wanted to gain a global perspective to further contextualize her education in public healthcare and LGBTQ+ rights. She knew she wanted to study abroad before even committing to a college.

“I’m from a neighborhood where everyone looked, sounded, and acted like me. I thought it was essential to gain other perspectives on life. One of the things I have enjoyed about Copenhagen is the willingness of the people here to understand my story and my background. I’ve met many people who have asked me about how my background relates back to the work that I want to do in the future.”

Jaila had the opportunity to study with DIS because of two esteemed study abroad scholarships: the Gilman Scholarship and the Fund for Education Abroad, which supports underrepresented students in the U.S. study abroad population.

While studying with DIS, Jaila focused on Denmark’s policies surrounding gender equality.

“Denmark and Scandinavia as a whole have worked to implement policies such as paid and extended maternal and paternal leave, and have also launched campaigns to decrease pay gaps between men and women. Those have been valuable lessons.”

Jaila Allen Finding a Dream Abroad

Eventually, Jaila wants to open her healthcare center in an urban location. She wants to provide annual check-ups, dental care, and specialized services like counseling and sex education. 

 “This would be a comprehensive center, as I want to provide just about any service someone might need. I want to focus on people between 12 and 24, which I believe are ages of formative growth in which people shape their identities.”

Want to Learn More?

>> Read Brandeis University’s piece on Jaila’s abroad experience
>> Public Health program at DIS Copenhagen

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