Last summer, Nastia left to do an internship as a nurse in France. When she got back, I asked her a few questions about her experience abroad. Here’s the story of Nastia, one that she will never forget.
What drove you to do an internship abroad?
As part of my school curriculum, I had to do an internship in order to validate certain courses. I had already done some internships, but I wanted to discover the hospital world in another country. My motivation was also to be able to compare it with what I had already experienced. When I heard about the Build Your Future project, they explained that by doing my internship abroad for a minimum of two months, I would be eligible for the Erasmus+ grant. So I became interested in the project and decided to start the application process.
How did you choose the destination?
I went to France to do my internship in a hospital as a nurse. In this field, we are in daily contact with patients so it is important to know the language of the country where we are going. Moreover, I learned the vocabulary related to my field of study by studying in French, so the choice of France was a natural one.
Tell me about your experience.
It’s a great experience to go abroad and even though I didn’t know anybody there, I proved to myself I was capable of adaptability. Something that impressed me in the hospital I was working in is the fact that interns are really taken seriously, everything was learning-oriented. During the whole first day, me and the other interns were guided through the whole service and presented to the surgery department who we were going to work with. Besides, my experience ended very well as I got offered a permanent position. I couldn’t have dreamt it better.
Can you tell me a key ‘moment’ of your experience?
In all the professional experiences I had in Belgium, there is one thing I never got to do. During my internship in France, for the first time I participated in presenting the patient to the surgeon during the visits. This was probably a key ‘moment’ I will never forget, there was such a great involvement with the patient, I finally felt considered in my job.
How do you think your internship will be beneficial for your future career?
I definitely learned a lot professionally, on the one hand, because there was real guidance. They let us take initiatives with supervision, of course, but still with more and more responsibilities. On the other hand, all the interns were involved at any time, no one was left behind.
How did you experience the culture abroad?
I didn’t have much time to discover the culture outside of the hospital. From what I experienced inside, it was like we were a ‘big family’. It was always in a professional way, but I could feel they were very united. In Belgium, there is a lot of multiculturalism and I have to say, sometimes it can be useful when a patient speaks a foreign language. The hospital where I was working needed a lot more translators.
How was your experience with Build Your Future?
It was really great because all along the way, I knew the Build Your Future team was there for me. At any moment of the process, I could ask my questions and felt reassured even though I was about to embark on this new (sometimes stressful) experience. This follow-up didn’t end once we found the internship, I had trouble finding a place to stay and the BYF team was able to find accommodation free of charge… this was exceptional. I must say, knowing there’s someone I could talk to at any time during my whole internship, felt very reassuring.
How important was it for you to have all the help provided by Build Your Future?
A huge help! Reviewing my CV and cover letter with the team gave me more confidence to apply for job offers. All the preparation we do together is also very useful for my future career, I understand better how to present myself on the job market too. Doing an internship abroad leads to a lot of independence, either before or during the internship, it’s part of the experience. Although the team accompanies us in the best way, more importantly they leave the space for self-growth.
What would you say to a student that considers doing an internship abroad?
The experience is worth it, the team is great, stop hesitating and just go for it !