Focus on Healthcare: Summer School Utrecht
Summer II, 2016
Studying abroad in the Netherlands was truly a life-changing experience. Not only was I able to learn more about other cultures, but it was also an excellent opportunity for self-discovery and reflection. I am ready to start this semester with a fresh perspective and outlook on the topics I have spent the past three years studying!
The Nursing Leadership and Clinical Management course I took at Universiteit Utrecht allowed me to meet nursing students from several countries in addition to meeting students from the Netherlands. I met students from South Korea, Japan, Italy, the Czech Republic, Germany, and Singapore, just to name a few.
The Dutch way of teaching classes is largely discussion and project based. No question is off limits or too personal for the Dutch. In one of our class sessions, our professor asked each student to share their top ten values. Then, the professor asked us to rank each value in the order we would be most willing to lose each value. I will never forget what my friend Yeji, from South Korea, shared with the class. Her top two values were family and health. She shared that she would be most willing to lose her family first and then her health. She said that although her family was the most important value to her personally, she would rather lose her family first, so as to not be a burden to the rest of her family. Wow. I felt like I learned so much more about other cultures from this discussion-based class that I ever would be able to learn from a lecture-based class or a textbook.
Throughout my time in the Netherlands, it was my personal goal to go out and experience something new in the country every day. I was able to participate in so many unique activities, and I had an absolute blast! I made gouda cheese, and visited the city of Gouda in the Netherlands. I kayaked on the canals of Utrecht and traveled by boat on the canals of Amsterdam. I attended an outdoor EuroPride concert, celebrating freedom of marriage in Europe and hearing the stories of the LGBT+ community in this part of the world. In a pub, I talked to a group of English gentlemen and heard one groom’s story of proposing to his wife in New York City. I saw “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt in person at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I ate ice cream next to a windmill in Kinderdijk and bought a sketching of tulips in Kinerdijk from an elderly man there. I biked 10 miles in Ameland with my friend Geerte, traveled to Den Haag with my friend Annie, and met so many other people along the way. I became thoroughly addicted to cappuccinos and sampled numerous types of cheese.
When you sign up for a study abroad experience, no one warns you just how much the trip will affect your mindset and daily way of life. I have gained a deeper appreciation for traveling and experiencing the cultures of different people. I have come to appreciate and adopt the Dutch commitment to sustainability and the production of a bettered community. I will carry the memories I have gained from my study abroad experience with me throughout the rest of my life and my nursing career. Thank you so much for your funding and allowing me to participate in this study abroad opportunity!