Learning Disability Nursing Student
Glasgow Caledonian University
1. What are you looking forward to?
Living on a different continent where almost everything is different in some way - I love the variety in day-to-day things that you take for granted - radio stations, breakfast, vegetation and architecture, even the birdsong! I'm particularly looking forward to some dark skies - night sky free from light pollution never ceases to blow me away. I'm going to take a cheap set of binoculars and star map for the southern hemisphere (even the constellations in the sky are different!).
I love music as well and I look forward to hearing what's popular (I hope it's not all Western pop music) and what their folk music sounds like. I'm also interested to see what a Saturday night in Lilongwe is like - I imagine it involves a lot of dancing!
2. What will you miss most?
Parents, family and friends. My musical instruments; I'm sure I'll have room for a uke though! There will surely be points where I'll miss all the familiar things of home - when I'll just wish I could nip to Gregg's or have a bottle of IPA of an evening - but I suppose that's part and parcel of living abroad.
3. What's been the hardest part of the preparation?
Taking on more commitments whilst having to keep on top of everything else. Sometimes even little things like getting in touch with people to do things like start up a LD Nursing Society can take me out of my comfort zone. Also being out of my flat for so long, it looks like I'll have to make decisions and plan about where I'll be living next year. It's a lot to take on but I'm certain it'll be worth it.
4. Have you ever lived abroad before?
No, the closest I got were 3 week holidays in Japan and also Colombia, however both times I returned resolving to go live 'over there'!
5. What made you choose to study LD nursing?
I've supported individuals with learning disabilities of all ages and in most situations since 2005 and wanted to consolidate what I'd learned, professionalise my practice, develop my skills and gain new experiences. This trip to Malawi meets all of these criteria and is definitely something I never thought I'd ever be doing and goes far beyond any expectations I thought I'd have!
6. How do you think this placement will help you to be a better nurse?
I could hazard a guess but I suspect come September the outcome may be completely different from my viewpoint now. It could be a baptism of fire and there's an element of nerves present, however this should give me a depth of knowledge and experience I'd struggle to get in any other situation.