When I started my studies three years ago it was my dream to do an internship abroad. Throughout these three years, I was constantly changing my mind about which country to visit because there were so many to choose from!
I ended up choosing Vietnam because I’ve always been interested in Asian culture. I’m now really glad I chose this beautiful country.
I travelled with two classmates of mine. The flight was very long but once we arrived in Vietnam I totally forgot about being tired. I couldn’t believe I was making my biggest dream come true.
When I arrived at the airport in Huế, I was greeted by the Work the World team. They were wearing their blue t-shirts and they saw me before I even saw them. They immediately took my luggage, which was so sweet of them to do, and I felt at ease straight away.
During the journey to the Work the World house, the team gave us lots of ideas for things to do in our free time (and of course, pointed out the best coffee shops).
Once we arrived at the house, I was speechless. It looked even better than in the photos. We had a nice lunch prepared by the amazing chef, which was such a nice welcome. Afterwards, we received a tour of the house and had the chance to settle into our rooms.
The next day we got a tour of the city and the hospital. My first impression of the hospital was how crowded it was. There were literally people everywhere. There were big differences between the hospitals in Vietnam and those in Belgium.
I was very impressed by how well everything was run there. I was also very surprised that the nurses were not assigned to do any of the personal care for the patient, this was the task of the patient’s family members.
I stayed for five weeks and got the chance to spend every week in a different department. I choose paediatrics, oncology, emergency and obstetrics and gynaecology.
The language barrier was a challenge. Not all of the nurses could speak English. However, some of them did and other times we were able to communicate using Google translate.
I’m very thankful for the nurses who tried to teach me everything they could. Also the nursing and medical students who were always ready to translate and explain things for me. They took me from one patient to the other and really helped me through my journey in the hospital.
I had the chance to practice a lot of nursing skills. The most memorable one was seeing a birth for the first time.
The weekends were amazing! On our first weekend, we went to Hội An and visited the Golden Bridge in Đà Nẵng. We also went to Hạ Long Bay – a place I’d always wanted to visit. This is definitely a must-do if you visit Vietnam. The other weekends we stayed at home and explored Huế.
This has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.
I would definitely recommend doing an overseas placement. This has been one of the best things I’ve ever done and I have no regrets.
Be aware that you need to adapt to the country and try not to change anything. You’re there to learn the way they work. If you do that, you’ll have an amazing time!