By Kayle Golding, UB Nursing Student
During the 2023 spring semester, University of Bridgeport Nursing students traveled to Europe for a first-hand look at the European healthcare model. This trip was organized by Linda Wagner, Director of the School of Nursing, to expose UB Nursing students to global healthcare systems in our increasingly interconnected world.
I acted as the UB Nursing Student Ambassador for this trip, documenting our experiences, learning about some of the best healthcare systems in the world, and experiencing the unique cultures of the various cities we visited. Our trip included stops at the Council of Europe, the United Nations, and the World Health Organizations, where we learned about each of these organizations and the impact they have on healthcare worldwide.
Read on to learn more about our trip, where we gained a global perspective on healthcare while preparing to embark on our careers as nurses.
Day 1: Strasbourg, France
Our trip began in Strasbourg, France. Strasbourg is a beautiful city on the border of Germany — our first day consisted of a walking tour through Strasbourg. We learned about the history of the city and took in the sights. Although the weather was windy and cold, you can see from the pictures that Strasbourg is a beautiful city with incredible architecture.
Day 2: Strasbourg, France
UB Nursing students sat for a presentation discussing the healthcare in France vs. The United States.
Presentation given to the UB Nursing students at the Council of Europe
On day two, we dove into the European medical system and learned how it differs from our medical system in America. Our first stop was at a hospital in Strasbourg, where the staff gave a presentation on the French healthcare system. During the presentation, we had the opportunity to learn how the nurses and doctors in France work and care for their patients.
Our second stop was a guided tour of the Council of Europe, where we learned about their work as a human rights organization. It was fascinating to look at human rights issues through a healthcare lens.
To learn more about University of Bridgeport’s Nursing programs, visit www.bridgeport.edu/bsn.
Day 3: Freiburg, Germany
Entrance of an underground tunnel into Freiburg, Germany near the Black Forest of Germany
UB Nursing students taking the tunnel into Freiburg
View of the Black Forest from Badenweiler, Germany
On the third day of our trip, we traveled by bus from Strasbourg to Freiburg, Germany, where we spent the day experiencing the German healthcare system first-hand. We first visited the University Hospital of Freiburg Center of Nursing Education. There, we sat for a presentation discussing nurses in Germany and learned how German nursing students become licensed. After the presentation ended, we toured the hospital and spoke with some of the nurses and doctors, discussing how they care for their patients.
Our second stop of the day was a wellness clinic located near the Black Forest. This clinic allows individuals to focus on healing their mind and body. From outside this clinic, we walked through an underground tunnel that brought us back to the town of Freiburg.
Day 4: Strasbourg, France to Geneva, Switzerland
We said our ‘goodbyes’ to the beautiful city of Strasbourg and traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, by bus. It took us most of the day to make it to Geneva, so we were given the evening off to adjust to the new city and venture out on our own. Geneva felt lively, with people everywhere enjoying delicious food, shopping, and biking through the city.
Day 5: Geneva, Switzerland
On day five, we experienced a guided tour of the United Nations (UN) Office in Geneva. We learned about the role of the United Nations and visited the spaces where important UN meetings are held. After the guided tour, we went to The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) headquarters, where the staff presented their goals and achievements in preventing, caring for, and treating HIV.
Day 6: Geneva, Switzerland and the World Health Organization
UB Nursing students and faculty with the WHO Chief Nursing Officer
Today was a very special day. We had the opportunity to visit the World Health Organization (WHO), where we met the Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Amelia, Latu Afuhaamango Tuipulotu. The office of the Chief Nurse of the WHO provides leadership to nurses worldwide. We also visited the International Council of Nurses, the world’s first international organization for health professionals.
Day 7: Geneva, Switzerland
Portrait, International Council of Nurses in Geneva, Switzerland
On the last day of our trip, we spent the first half of the day touring the Red Crescent Museum, which represents the International Red Cross. Through the tour, we learned about the organization’s history through art pieces, images, voiceovers, and videos. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Geneva one last time, before coming together for a farewell dinner that evening.
This trip was an incredible opportunity to experience the history of healthcare in Europe while also learning about some of the most significant international organizations that work to advance the nursing profession worldwide. As a University of Bridgeport Nursing student, I am thankful for the opportunity to expand my care-taking skills by looking at healthcare through an international lens.
Kayle Golding is a senior in UB’s Nursing program. As long as she can remember, she’s always wanted to be a nurse and believes her purpose in life is to help those in need.