Belgium by Maura Kenny

Studying abroad in Belgium has by far been the best experience of my life. As a nursing student interested in working with the oncology population, I was drawn to this trip because of its focus on end-of-life care. I was intrigued to learn more about Belgium’s euthanasia law and was hoping to gain insight on their healthcare. My expectations of this trip were exceeded in every way. While we did spend time in the classroom listening to lectures, most of our “school” time was spent visiting different hospitals and rehabilitation homes in the community as well as getting hands on experience with various types of complementary care, such as reiki. I especially enjoyed how we were able to work with students from various countries in small groups to perform complementary care in a hospital or nursing home. Being able to connect to patients who live in a different country and speak a different language was an eye opening cultural experience and really got at the heart of nursing. The program, while intensive, allowed plenty of time for fun of course. We were able to travel to Amsterdam and Bruges in our free time, and both of these trips will never be forgotten. The Belgian students were amazing tour guides and took us to the best restaurants and bars that Ghent has to offer. We had so much fun hanging out with these fellow nursing students, even if it was just for a night of Twister and Belgian beer. The friendships formed were the most meaningful part of the trip and thankfully social media has made it easy to stay in contact no matter where you are in the world!