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During her time abroad Hannah got to develop new skills and perspectives. She spent her internship in a neuro-surgical unit at the local University hospital, and she will remember the things she learned there for the rest of her life.

“Going abroad and learning about cultural differences within healthcare was a very enriching and valuable experience“ she states. “It starts a process of critical thinking that I believe is very important, both as a student and working as a nurse in the future.”

Meeting new people, from all over the world

When in Coimbra Hannah met many new and great people.

“It surprised me how many exchange students there were in the city, from all around the world. I met new people every day and everyone was very outgoing and friendly” she says.

Before leaving for Portugal Hannah was a bit nervous about feeling lonely, being so far away from home. But well there, she made many new friends from all over Europe. And many new memories…

“I made a lot of nice memories, but the best ones were with the other students in the dorm. We spent a lot of time together discovering Coimbra and the areas nearby.”

Language barrier

A large number of international students in Coimbra was definitely a bonus, since Hannah had some challenges communicating with the locals at times. The language barrier turned out to be the greatest challenge abroad.

“The school staff, the nurses in the hospital and the local people had very limited English skills” she says. “This made it difficult to communicate and I often had to get help from the other students who spoke Portuguese. Luckily, I had two tutors in the hospital who spoke English and were used to having international students.”

Going abroad helps you grow

Hannah recommends all students to go abroad. Not only for the good food and nice weather, but also as it’s an experience that helps you grow as a person.

“Being abroad challenges you to become more independent and open-minded” she says and gives some additional advice. “Try to learn about the culture and language before going, as those things can create barriers once you are there. Looking back, preparing more for this was something I would’ve done, differently.