I have always wanted to study abroad and experience a different culture. I have never been out of the country before and I was worried that since the program was only two weeks, I would not be able to get a chance to explore Belgium while also taking classes. However, this could not have been farther from the case. Even though I was only there for two weeks, I had an incredible experience and would recommend this program to other nursing professionals looking for more education about end of life care.
Death and dying are topics that many people do not like to discuss, and that many people are not ready to handle in the clinical setting. Even though there were some cultural differences, all the teachers and lecturers were well prepared and brought their own unique take to care at the end of life and how patients should be treated. I know that I will confront death in the hospital setting, and now that I have had this experience, I feel more prepared to handle myself when the time comes.
Getting to see Europe was my favorite part of the trip. As a group, we traveled to Amsterdam, Bruges, and Ghent. The cities we saw were beautiful and the people were all welcoming and inviting. Getting this chance to interact with people from not only Belgium, but Portugal, Estonia, and the Chez Republic as well was a life-changing experience. While we do come from difference places, have different experiences, and believe different things, we were all united in our desire to provide the best care possible to those we are working with, and we were all willing to learn what we had to in order to improve our practice.
I will never forget the conversations with the people that I had while abroad. We not only talked about nursing and healthcare, but about things we liked and disliked, our dreams and hopes, and where we came from and where we wanted to go. Talking to people about these things helps you to better understand why they believe what they do and why they make certain decisions regarding their care. I know that it is important to get to know people on a personal level before you can truly give the best care possible. I will never forget what I learned here, and I hope that his program is as inspirational for people in the future as it was for me.