Six KILN students had the opportunity to study abroad during their junior year. They reflected upon their experiences as college students in the United States and their roles as future health care providers as it relates to global issues.
Lizzy Byrne, ‘17 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Being exposed to the state of health systems in other countries made me truly contemplate the state of the health system in the US. I found myself considering beyond physical ailments what I would be encountering as a nurse. Coming to these realizations in Amsterdam has affected my return to BC and nursing curriculum. I now appreciate the importance nursing has on not only providing quality patient care but also bettering the American health system. Improving American healthcare through research and evidence based practice will most definitely have micro effects but also has the potential to create lasting macro level effects globally. Ultimately, my time abroad led to exposure to many cultures through my peers and many global healthcare concerns through my international public health course. This exposure prompted me to truly reflect on the impact that I can have as a nurse.
Esther Chung, ’17 – Zurich, Switzerland
It was an eye opening experience to witness not only the powerful work in which we as nurses engage, but also to be immersed in a cultural exchange and enriching dialogue with people from Chile, India, Singapore, and Switzerland. Through the exchange program, I believe that I gained more than just knowledge. In addition to the inspiring seminars, edifying presentations, challenging debates, and even the beautiful memories made with new peers, my experience in Switzerland taught me how to respect and interact with people from new and different backgrounds. I think that for me, the greatest theme of that year became one about broadening my views and understanding of the world and the people within it.
Kathryn Free, ‘17– Beijing, China
As a Chinese adoptee, I was eager to explore my birth heritage and culture. Before studying abroad, I traveled to China three times, but for only three weeks at a time. This time, I was excited to immerse myself in Chinese culture and learn what it is like to live in China instead of just being a visitor. Through studying abroad in Beijing and volunteering in the ED, I was able to see first hand many of the health inequities China faces. I met many extraordinary people and learned so much about the meaning and value of health. Through this experience, I also discovered my passion for global health nursing. This abroad experience did not merely peak my interest in global health nursing, but sparked a lifelong exploration and journey. I am so grateful for this experience and know that I will be a better nurse and human being because of it.
Cindy Lee, ’17 – Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong is a special country because it incorporates both Eastern and Western influences. As a Chinese-American, I was able to experience the unique Hong Kong culture firsthand and this knowledge will be helpful in my nursing care of diverse patients. I was able practice my native language of Cantonese-Chinese, eat new and interesting food, see different sights, and be part of new customs and practices. I integrated my passion of healthcare in my personal cultural immersion. My experiences abroad helped me become a more empathetic and culturally sensitive person to care for patients. As a nurse, I can provide the best individualized and compassionate care to patients by considering other people’s customs and beliefs and in the real world, I can be more worldly and empathetic of others from different countries. As a college student, I understand that a lot of times we are stuck in a campus bubble and going abroad broadened my view of the world. Studying abroad has given me the chance to become more globally competent.
Kesla Silaj, 17 – Madrid, Spain
While abroad, I learned so much about who I am and what I want to gain out of different experiences that I encounter in life. I feel better prepared for the future and I can say that I am much more comfortable in new and unexpected situations. While in Madrid, I was fortunate and was able to travel to a few countries nearby. One of my favorite places was Marrakesh, Morocco. It was an educational trip where we learned about Moroccan life and culture, about the Islamic religion and their thoughts on everything that has been going on in the world, and of course about some more light hearted things such as food and music. There we stayed with host families, where we bonded and learned even more about their beautiful culture. It was an amazing trip, and I know I have gained new friends for life.
Suvin Song, ‘17 – London, England
Going into my time abroad, I knew that I wanted to build the kind of close-knit community and friendships. Instead of simply hoping this would fall into place, I took it upon my self to create that atmosphere for myself and the people around me. I began to step forward as a leader whenever I had the chance, whether that meant coordinating dinner plans or making sure everyone was included in bigger weekend excursions. Being the person to step up and take ownership in a crowd was not typical of me, but I quickly saw that growing into that leadership role was the best way to build the kind of experience that would leave a lasting impression on not only me but my new friends as well.