Cassie Graves – Study Abroad Belgium

Studying abroad in Belgium was an experience I will never forget. Before our study abroad officially started we all travelled to Europe early and stopped in both Amsterdam and London for a few days. This kicked off our amazing European adventure. After our few days of nonstop exploring and very little sleep, we headed back to Ghent to start our two-week course. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect before I arrived but after the first day all my worries had disappeared. All the students from the first week bonded immediately and we became inseparable from then on.

In the first week of the program, we visited an abundance of facilities related to end of life care. We saw palliative care units, nursing homes, and oncology units. One common factor that they all shared was the focus on comfort and complementary therapies. They would use therapies such as aromatherapy, art therapy, and breathing exercises in conjunction with more typical therapies offered. In the USA, we don’t see these therapies being used often. Belgium really focuses on quality of life instead of quantity of life. They really provide a holistic way of nursing to all of their patients.

Coming back, I really hope I can bring my new knowledge of complementary therapies and put them into use for clinical and when I start my career as a nurse. There is so much we can all learn from each other and I am so grateful that I had an opportunity like this to broaden my idea of what nursing can do and become.