Guest blogger Produced by

My name is Emily, I am currently a second-year BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing student. I chose to study here because they offered the course I was interested in and the location was close to home, essential due to being a mum.

When I heard that BU were offering an overseas placement in year 2, I knew this was my destiny, following a lifelong dream that started when I was 5 years old – to go to Africa and help people less fortunate than myself. So, the opportunity to go as a student nurse 35 years later seemed like it was meant to be.

I had no previous experience of travelling or working abroad so this was brand-new for me, although one I felt had been awaiting me for a long time. I referred to Work the World’s website to read previous students experiences as well as speaking to a Ghanaian classmate. When I was made aware of the Turing Scheme, I applied immediately, as I knew this would help to alleviate some of the financial pressures. I found applying for funding straight forward, although there was a lot of forms to fill out. However, whenever I asked for assistance, they were very good at supporting me.

BackpackBefore I left, I was quite anxious due to leaving my family for the first time but knew that my husband and kids would be fine once they got used to my absence. I was also very excited to see what Ghana had waiting for me and because I was travelling with friends, I knew I would not be alone. I am a very adaptable person so was not concerned about being away, and when I arrived I was excited to get going on my adventure.

I was very pleased to see my new home (and bed) after 15+ hours of travelling and slept very well on my top bunk. I had never lived in a communal house before, but it was lovely and spacious and a bonus, it had air con and hot water which was a lovely surprise and not expected. I consider myself very laid back and adaptable, so I settled into communal living very quickly, all helped by being surrounded by beautiful like-minded people.

This experience has been so relevant to my studies; it has solidified that the way I am being taught to nurse, is the way that I want to continue. Due to being well prepared for this trip, I had expected to see and do things that I will probably never see and do again, particularly in the UK. Therefore, in a strange way it met my expectations, particularly my appreciation of the NHS which has been solidified even further. It has also exaggerated there is a huge cultural belief in the UK that people feel very ‘entitled’ when it comes to receiving ‘free’ treatment. Something which the Ghanaians can’t even wrap their heads around, let alone dream of.People standing talking

Working in a Ghanaian government run hospital has shown me that it doesn’t matter where in the world you go, people are still people, and despite some huge cultural differences nursing is still a role that requires compassion and care. Initially this was probably the biggest challenge for me as I felt as though this was lacking in Ghana. As time wore on, I began to realise the nurses were compassionate, but it was different to my perception due to their cultural ‘norms’. I did not go there to change the way they work, but to observe and join in.

It was such a fascinating and eye-opening insight into a world so far from ours that I would absolutely love to do it all over again. The only advise I would have given myself before this would be ‘you have no reason to feel anxious – you will love every minute’.

Find out more

Leave a reply

Your details
  • (Your email address will not be published in your comment)