Personal experience –
I always wanted to experience healthcare in a different country and it definitely lived up to its expectations. Be organised! Choose your destination wisely. I was volunteering in a day clinic for children in South Africa. The clinic was funded by the government so healthcare was paid for those who could not afford to pay. We saw very different, interesting things and it was definitely worth seeing healthcare in a different poorer environment to get a sense how lucky we are back home. If you are thinking of going on an elective, bare in mind a lot is observing, listening and learning that way. However, there are times you really can get involved, talk to the patients about their life, their experience. Personally, I got to do that and it was so interesting to get to understand their way of life in South Africa.
I was lucky enough to have a group of friends who wanted to travel with me too and went in a group of 4: 2 adult nurses and 2 children nurses. This for me was a big thing as I did not want to travel alone. However, we went with a company called ‘The Mighty Roar’ and met many people there doing other projects and this was reassuring if I did go alone as I met lovely people out there and got to socialise and go out with them aswell as having project days.
For the elective placement, I had to really make sure I had enough money to go and budget myself when I knew I was going to go abroad for my elective. I set a giving page up where a few family members donated and just worked at my care bank job to ensure I had enough money coming in to pay for it. It is expensive! But it was so worth it if you are thinking of doing it. It is good to go to an area you really want to explore too because I found I had a lot of time too to explore where we were as well as go to our clinic. Do your research into this destination and plan ahead on what things you may be interested in doing and visiting while you are there to greaten your experience. This really helped once we arrived to orientate us.
Thinking of going alone? –
Going alone would have been an option for me too if my friends weren’t able or did not want to come – this made me rather nervous but because I really wanted to experience going abroad this would not have stopped me. Especially knowing I would be going to a big hostel with other people doing volunteering.
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Author: Maddie McConnell, Year 3 Student
Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students only and does not necessarily represent the views of the Children’s Nursing team, School of Health Sciences or the University of Surrey.
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