By: Porsche Campbell, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, winner of the spring 2019 BC Study Abroad: Stories from Abroad Scholarship

Study Abroad Destination: India

After months of travelling, it feels amazing to be back home in Vancouver, BC. My time abroad in Kerala, India was nothing short of amazing. Most importantly, my outlook on life, my career as a nurse and my appreciation for my country were positively heightened. As I settle back into my reality and day-to-day life I have begun to reflect on my experiences as a student nurse in India, incorporating the lessons I’ve learnt into my work as a nurse in Canada. The biggest lesson I took away from my travels abroad was the importance of freedom, whether it is in a hospital setting, within the community or even perceived societal norms.

The advice I would give other students looking to travel abroad reflects the importance of embracing a country’s cultural surroundings. This will maximize your ability to gain a new perspective, which you will carry with you in all future endeavours. My experience has forever changed the way I provide nursing care, especially in my specialty, maternity. The importance of women’s rights and freedom to decide her birth plan was an aspect that women in India lack compared to women here in Canada. Moreover, pain medications and management during labour were dependent upon consent from a women’s husband, therefore restricting a women’s freedom during labour and delivery. Experiences such as these are ways my nursing care and perspective on life as a whole have been forever changed. Without the opportunity to immerse myself in an entirely new community, culture and setting I would lack the important life lessons and experiences I was exposed to in India.

Travelling, in my mind, will forever change one's view, most often in a positive way, providing insight into something that may never have been previously explored. My last piece of advice to those looking to travel and study aboard, is take the chance, get out of your comfort zone and ensure you put your all into whichever culture you’re exploring. The memories, experiences and insight you will gain will be priceless moments no one can teach you.

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