Linda Ernfridsson, Nursing programme, University of South Dakota, USA (in English)
My name is Linda Ernfridsson and I study nursing.
August 14th, 2016 my journey began. For my 5th semester I was going for an exchange semester in USA, at South Dakota State University.
South Dakota, Brookings, have one of the best nursing programs in all of America and I thought that I could give it a try so I applied and hoped for the best. My thoughts behind this trip was that I wanted to stand on my own two legs, to grow as an human being, to get to know new people, experience new adventures and learn a lot about my future profession as a nurse. When I think back to it now I realise that I have learned more about my self, about life, my future profession and developed more than I could ever dream of. I guess you can read that anywhere; ”a trip like this can change your life”, but it really can and I think it’s only positive outcomes from this special adventure of yours.
As a student nurse in America you are not allowed to practice clinical because of American law. But I had the opportunity to have ”Community” witch means that you go to a pre-school and help out with health screening in the classes witch I thought was really fun and giving because we don’t spend that much time with children when we have practice in Sweden. We also had ”simulation” when we got a patient case study and had a doll that has the ability to for instance talk, cry, breath and vomit. During those simulations you learned a lot and got a good chance to practice how to behave with an ”actual” patient. Regarding the lectures I had, I thought they were very interesting and giving. I had a mix of classes with students in semester 2 and 3 therefor the information was a bit of repetition when it come to anatomy, pharm and diseases, but I didn’t see that as a bad thing, the other way around. You got a deeper understanding, you got more and deeper information and you get another chance to study something that you have to understand in the end of the day.
The school faculty was very helpful and kind, they helped me with a lot to get the best experience of my trip. They helped me with the housing application, all the paper work, kept in touch before I went to America and while being there. On campus you have close to downtown (10 minute walk), close to the gym (free for students), the library and different arenas where you can see sport like American football, volleyball and basket.
The school do a lot of activity’s that you can join or just watch, witch makes the time at the university even more fun. And the wellness centre does different trips and activity’s like hiking and climbing.
I lived with a classmate from Sweden that went with me on this trip and we lived in a residence hall with a lot of other students. We had one room that we shared and different areas where you could watch TV, play games, study or just hang out. We also had a kitchen available if you wanted to reheat food or cook. I think the amount of money I have spent during this trip is reasonable, I have even been on two smaller trips in America during semester breaks. Eating on campus can wary from about 6 - 10$ depending on how much you eat/meal. I bought a fridge to keep some snacks and breakfast in, that way you kept the cost down a bit. I would say it’s almost like in Sweden when it comes to food and clothes, just slightly cheaper in America.
Some tips I would like to share include:
- Start preparing early: Paperwork take time and patients
- Save money: Of course a trip like this costs money, you can apply for CSN and you’ll be all right but, while being in America I highly recommend going around and explore more (Brookings isn’t the biggest city). For instance me and friends rented a car and went to Minneapolis for a weekend, we also took the flight to Denver for a weekend. If I would have had more money I could easily have gone for example New York, Las Vegas or Miami from the airport not far from Brookings. Or if you don’t want to fly, there are always rental cars available.
- Enjoy your time : Even though school gives you a lot to do, have fun and meet new people. I can promise that time flies by and all of the sudden you are on the plane back to Sweden wondering where those 4 months went.
So for you that have been thinking about going but don’t really dare to take the next step, I can promise you that all of the work you put in to this will be worth it and that you will have a great time.