Grinning Like A Cheshire Cat

Chester Cathedral
Chester Cathedral

Greetings from Chester, England! My stay here in the county of Cheshire surely has given me many reasons to smile and enjoy this opportunity – in fact, I think I couldn’t have chosen a better place to do my training exchange. I have absolutely fallen in love with Chester and Cheshire.

I have been travelling around Cheshire during my stay here, and the combination of peaceful countryside and lively towns has really made me feel at home in here. Many of you might remember Cheshire from Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but the phrase ‘grinning like a Cheshire Cat’ is older than the book written by Lewis Carroll (born in Darensbury, Cheshire). One of the stories behind the origin of the phrase is that the cats in Cheshire grin since the county is famous for it’s countryside, cheese and dairy farms, hence the cats will always have milk and cream to enjoy.

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Countess of Chester Country Park
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I live in Chester, which is a city located in West Cheshire, close to the border with Wales. I would like to describe the city as historical, cosy and simply stunning. Chester was founded almost 2,000 years ago as a Roman fort called Deva Victrix. The city centre is surrounded by old city walls, originally built by Romans. The walls are my favourite place to walk in Chester, as many of the landmarks in Chester can be seen from the walls. I’ve enjoyed various sunsets from the walls next to Chester Race Course, watched herons standing in the River Dee and admired the magnolia trees blossoming in the garden of the Chester Cathedral. Other attractions in Cheshire are it’s black-and-white architecture and the Chester Rows, unique combination of medieval walkways and shops in two different floors. The location of Chester is perfect for travelling – I’ve been to various places during my stay, including Manchester, Liverpool, Bradford, Leeds, North Wales and Dublin, Ireland.

Chester Rows
City Walls

Clinical training has taken majority of my time here, and I have had the opportunity to do different kinds of placements. I have been working at a respiratory care ward, renal unit, endoscopy unit and operation theatres here in Chester, and community care team in Ellesmere Port, another town in West Cheshire. I’ve also had brief visits to leg ulcer clinic and a day care surgery unit and it’s recovery. There is definitely differences in nursing and practices between England and Finland, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot of new things, seen a lot of new ways and had placements I wouldn’t have been able to do in my own country.

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Roman Amphitheatre

I would definitely recommend visiting Chester, North West England and North Wales; there is a lot to see and do, especially for those who enjoy beautiful scenery and many different kind of places within relatively small area. My time here will soon be over, but I’ll definitely come back some day.

– Hanna

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