A teacher at my college asked me if I could write an article for the college magazine about my experience in India since the college celebrate their Silver jublee next year. And after a lot of thinking and changeing in the article, I finally got a bit satisfied with the articel. Not I just hope that they will accept it, of course;)
But I thought of publishing it here for you guys!
"From Sweden to Manipal"
I always had a passion of travelling, and I never had any fear traveling on my own. But the train that took me to Udupi was a bit scary since I was heading towards the biggest adventure in my life. I had left my whole life back in Sweden to start a new one in a country I never visit before; experiencing a culture I knew practically nothing about and to spend four years of my life in this country with the final goal to graduate as a licenced nurse from one of the most prestigious colleges in Inda.
I have stoped counting how many times I've answerd the most common question people tend to ask when I tell them about what I am doing - "why?", "why did you choose to come to India?", "Don't they have Nursing colleges in Sweden?"
But the amazing thing with studying abroad is that you get two educations in one - and education that will lead you towards an profession, and a secon education called life experience, which one does not gain no matter how many book you read.
I remember the ricksaw ride from the train to Manipal being very primitive but oh so exotic at the same time. Women walking along the road carying baskets on their head, cows that walked around on the streets looking like nothing in the whole world could bother them.
The ordinary days with college and studies started relatively fast, and I understood that I had to introduce new habits in my new life in India. I knew that it was going to be one of the greatest challanges to do so. And to study in a country that is completely different from your own doesn't make it easier to adjust to a completely new life.
I would say that Manipal is a perfect University City for foreigners to come to since it provides a little bit of everything you need as a student. First, it has a great mix of people from all over the world which makes it impossible to NOT meet interesting people and to find friends, i is also a very small place and easy to get around in, and you have everything you need as a student within a 500m distance - library, college, food places, greeneries, recreation centers, a well known universiry hospital etc.
First day in college brought a lot of curious looks from both my new classmates, and from me as well.
But I believe I adjusted quite fast to the college routines thanks my sweet classmates and understanding teachers.
The hectic schedule turned out to be a bit of a shock in the begining though since the college structure differ a lot compare to the Universities in Sweden.
Family and friends back home kept reminding me about how crazy I am continuing the program, but also how proud and happy they are becuase I am doing it and because I am following my dreams.
What I really appriciate with MCON is the generous amount of clinical exposure. Nothing is more valuable as the education you get out of a real life experience.
My first clinical experience started in the Orthopedical ward. And the first things that surprised me when I entered the hospital was the big crowd of people. People standing along the walls, people sleeping, eating and sitting on the floor; on a first view of the ward with a block having up to 10-15 beds I couldn't make out whom of them was the patient. The ward with the grey/white walls felt cold, no privacy and a common bathroom probably being the main source of nosocomical infections.
I hade come to understand the importance of our theoretical classes in Standars Precautions pretty fast. One should never judge the book by its cover though. And as the clinical weeks went on I came to learn a lot about, what I would say is, the true India through one of the most honourable and beautiful professions. The hospital is a place that gathers people from all social/economic/religious backgrouds and forces them to collaborate and communicate on sometimes very predisposal circumstances.
I face challanges in the hospital almost on a daily basis, challanges that I might not had to face in my home coutry. Communication barriers and way of interpretting situations with both staff and patients have made me frustrated a number of times. But the solution to that lies in good patiense and your dedication to get to know the local language. And despite my "Broken Kannada" I've had a lot of wondeful conversations with patients.
These interactions have made me realize that words are not always needed to express oneself or to be able to understand another person and the situation they are in. Being able to see and feel people is an invaluable attainment that is only gained through interaction with people and that is going to help you through out your nursing profession.
Also, operating in a country different from ones home country, and especially a developing country, also means that the syllabus needs to considere the health status in that particular region in order to prepare the nurse for the society he/she is going to work in. Many disease conditions found in India though could not be found in Sweden. Hence, to have met a person with Leprosy or a person with Post Polio Syndrome, and the value in that clinical experience is, once again, invaluable since I know that I would not have gained that experience if I did my studies back home.
The hospital setting as well as division of work of the nurses in India differ in many ways compared to Sweden. It does hit me from time to time that I one day will go back to my home country to work as a nurse. And I have no idea how I will be able to manage the big contrast that I am going to face.
My dream is to work as a nurse for the United Nations. And as a friend told me once: if you can manage four years in India and in an Indian hospital, you can manage anywhere in the world.
2nd year BSc. Nursing Madeleine
A wise man once said that it is not the destination but the journey that matters most in life. Well, am right now at the Copenhagen Airport waiting for the flight that is going to take me back to India so I can start my THIRD YEAR in B.Sc Nursing course...
LET'S DO THIS!!
Manipal - here I come, again;)