Daniel Olsson, Nursing programme, The University of the Free State, South Africa

My name is Daniel, I did my exchange semester in Bloemfontein, South Africa from July 19th – November 20th. I Studied Theoretical and Practical Psychiatry, in the school of nursing.

I never really planned to do an exchange semester, since this was out of my comfort zone but I am glad I did it. The reason I chose South Africa is that it was a country that was completely unknown for me, and a country that I would not otherwise visit. And of course to meet new people and learn about other cultures…and to travel.

The Lectures started 7:30 and ended 14:00, We had different teachers, depending on the subject of the day. The Teachers were very competent and passionate about their field. Which I was very comforting and made it easy for me to learn. We had three small tests and one big exam at the end of the semester. As for the practical course we first went out to a small town called Trombsurg, we worked together with Doctors and Occupational therapists for a week. We screened children between the age of 10-12 in the schools by taking bloodtests, testing eyesight, posture and glucose levels. For the elderly in the town that previously was been diagnosed with diabetes we held a PowerPoint presentation in the form of an education for them about the illness. Also we did home visits for checkups.

After Trombsburg, We worked for two weeks in a psychiatric institute. Where we spent time with the patients, playing chess, card games and other board games. It was interesting to talk to the patients. Unfortunately we did not learn that much about the nursing profession.

We also spend one week working with intellectual disabled children, this was a lot of fun as well as interesting. Our exam was to build a toy for one of the children.

These four weeks of practical education was a lot of fun as well as interesting. It gave me a new perspective about the world. The healthcare is not as developed in South Africa as it is in Sweden, and it made me realize how good we have it here in Sweden and that we should not take everything for granted.

As far as our living arrangement goes, we lived in a dorm with shared bathroom and kitchen. It was a new building and had very high standards. It is not that expensive either; in South Africa, it is very inexpensive for us.

If You choose to go to South Africa, you will have memories for life and you will not regret it.