Emma Griffiths, Adult Nursing (Semester Abroad)

Emma Griffiths

Erasmus exchange - College of Human and Health Sciences

Emma took part in a three month Erasmus exchange at Diaconia University of Applied Sciences in the city of Oulu in Finland as part of her BSc Adult Nursing programme.

We asked her to tell us more about her experience...

What made you decide to study abroad?

I have a passion for travel, culture and meeting new people.  Any opportunities that are presented to me I will always look into. 

Tell us a little bit about your chosen university...

Diaconia University is a large university in Finland which has three campuses, however I was based at a small campus in the city of Oulu which is the capital of Northern Finland. I was able to carry out two clinical placements at the local hospital, OYS where I was provided with English speaking mentors.  My first placement was in a surgical ward where there were patients who were needing or had had surgery and my second placement was in the Intensive Care unit.

What were the highlights of your trip?

Being a student nurse in a Finnish hospital was such an incredible experience. I am very proud of what I was able to achieve despite the language barrier.  A highlight of the trip were the other Erasmus international students I had met and lived with in student accommodation.  I have made friends for life and it was very emotional saying goodbye to them.  Being in Finland meant I was able to see the Northern Lights from my bedroom window and also take part in snow activities including skiing and snowmobiling on my days off.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was probably Preparing for the unknown, including the temperatures of Finland, the language, the food, the nursing and just having no idea what to expect.

How will this trip help you with your career?

Nursing is a broad career and it can take you anywhere.  I have always wanted to travel and being a student nurse in Finland has given me that extra confidence that one day maybe I will nurse abroad.  It has allowed me to experience a different culture and understand the difference around the world.  I was able to compare UK hospitals to Finnish hospitals, the good, the bad and even the similarities. 

Is this something that you’d recommend to other students?

I would most definitely recommend a study abroad scheme for a student nurse in order to gain lifetime experience, knowledge, extra skills, meet new people, discover new places and generally have a good time.