Four 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.
Winnie Liang, ‘18 – Melbourne, Australia
My time abroad was truly an incredible experience. From studying at the University of Melbourne to travelling around Australia, I have challenged myself and become a better leader. Never have I been as outgoing as I was while abroad, and because I was, I made friendships with people from all over the world and pursued goals and interests that I never thought I would.
While living in a residential college with an extremely diverse student population, I had the opportunity to be a part of a close-knit and supportive community that became a major part of my abroad experience. I joined the choir, competed in an intercollegiate sports competition, and led a decoration team for one of the cultural events at the college. Through all these experiences, I took on leadership roles that have not only helped me pursue personal goals, but grow as an individual.
I also took classes to explore my interests outside of nursing, including an education and public health class and an Asian languages and power class. While these classes are much different from nursing, they have made me more passionate about the nursing profession. Through my travels, I was able to self-reflect and gain a better understanding of the world and the people within it. My time in Australia has been a learning experience in many ways; because of these experiences, I feel more empowered to be the nurse I know I can be.
Nelsmarie Matos, ’18 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Studying abroad has been one of my most life changing events so far. I am so glad I have been able to experience everything from sadness (homesickness is real!) to pure joy. These experiences have given me a different understanding of life and shaped my goals for the future.
I chose to come student in Rio de Janeiro to learn a new language, but I was not ready for what was in store. As some of you may know, Brazil has a high rate of poverty and crime. While the United States also grapples with has poverty and crime, it is very different in Brazil. It is very prominent and one is able to see it on every street corner of the city. The exposure to these realities at a greater scale affirmed that nursing was the field I want to pursue. I am hoping that one day I am able to help those in need, especially in my community back home.
I thank KILN for helping my dreams of living in Brazil reality. If it was not for my mentor, Robin, and KILN Director Cathy, giving me advice through all of my nursing challenges, I do not think I would be in Brazil today. If anyone is interested in visiting South America or has any specific questions about studying abroad, please feel free to reach me. I’d love to help in any way and convince as many of you as possible to study abroad here in Rio de Janeiro!
Lea Nelligan, ‘18 – Parma, Italy
This past semester, I had the wonderful opportunity of studying in Parma, Italy along with 30 other Boston College students.
Although I was unable to take nursing classes or work in a clinical setting, I still got so much out of my semester abroad. I was able to meet so many new students and established incredible friendships while to navigating Italian life together. Life in Europe proved to be much different than I expected, especially linguistically. I believe that I have become more self-sufficient, independent, and confident in my abilities. I was able to practice my language skills, in both Italian and Spanish. I realized how much I knew, but also how much I did not know. Studying abroad was truly a humbling experience that allowed me to grow immensely.
Sol You, ’18 – Venice, Italy
This past spring, I was given the amazing opportunity to study abroad at Venice International University in Venice, Italy. As it is an international university, there were students from all over the globe, ranging from Beijing to Tel Aviv to North Carolina. The idea of an international university is what drew me most to the program; in addition to living in a foreign country where I do not speak the language for over three months, I would be able to take classes, interact and communicate with students from all over the world.
Taking classes with students from all over the world was a new, invigorating experience. Although English was not everyone’s first language, we were able to share our unique thoughts and personal experiences during class discussions. I gained so many perspectives on a wide array of different issues and learned that having an open mind is crucial when interacting with people from different backgrounds or places. This can serve as a foundation for when I am in the hospital setting interacting with patients of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds; the idea of being culturally sensitive and aware was thoroughly emphasized during my time abroad.
Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity; when will you ever be able to live in a foreign country for several months? Although I was definitely homesick and uncomfortable in a brand new setting, I would most definitely recommend it to all students considering it. A semester abroad taught me resilience, open-mindedness, and the ability to adapt to new situations. It allowed me to grow as a person and a student, and I am confident that I will return in the fall as a more determined and hardworking nursing student.