Greetings from Ayr, the west coast of Scotland! I arrived in September and now I have less than three weeks to go. Time has passed amazingly fast and autumn has felt like a blink of an eye.
I came to do 3 different kind of training periods here: 7 weeks on a receiving medical ward, 3 weeks at a maternity unit and lastly 3 weeks in domiciliary care. It has been a great opportunity to see different areas of the local health care. As I expected, training nursing abroad has been challenging but rewarding.
I was staying at the university halls and it turned out to be a good decision because it has been easy to make, both local and international, friends here. I have spent most of my spare time here in and around Ayr. I have enjoyed of nature and views, summer turning to autumn and winter, Christmas atmosphere, nights out, food, long walks and travelling. I have loved to stay in a smaller town but I also have spent some time in Edinburgh and Glasgow which are both lovely places. I have also spent a lot of time wondering why British people love to do things the opposite way than the whole other world. For example, traffic, doors and card games are working to different direction that I have been used to.
I met a Spanish nursing student who invited me to stay at her home during our autumn holiday. The offer was too good so soon I found myself packing bags and heading to the airport. I did not expect to find myself from Spain when I left to exchange in Scotland. I’m lucky I did, because the holiday was one of the highlights of this autumn.
Compared to Finland, here nurses do longer hours – 12 hour shifts normally three times a week. I found longer days tiring – especially because I had to concentrate harder than normally because of the new environment and foreign language – but in the other hand I naturally had more spare time which was very welcome. Nursing is an international occupation and personally I didn’t find massive differences between Finnish and Scottish nursing cultures. But I learnt how differently public services – such as health care and school system – are provided in Scotland compared to England. I find Scotland’s way of arranging these things similar to Scandinavia.
Although I have enjoyed my time here, I’m pleased to get back home for Christmas and back to my own boring routines. I didn’t exactly know what to expect from my time here but I can say that this exchange was everything and a lot more. I feel grateful and lucky of this experience.