April 2, 2019

How 20 nursing students used health care to cross cultural barriers

UCQ nursing students praise experiences from exchange to Indonesia

The University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ) recently welcomed home 20 enthusiastic nursing students, all returning from a unique learning exchange program in Indonesia organized by Reach Out To Asia and Education Above All.

During their trip, the UCQ students were divided into four groups that each led instructional sessions in areas including elder care, personal development, basic life support, and lifestyle management of cardiac and kidney disease. In return, the UCQ students received instruction on traditional Indonesian therapy methods.

The trip — which faculty organizers Marie-Claude Toriida and Barbara Rose-Lovett say was life changing for the students as well as themselves — provided an immersive, experiential learning opportunity going beyond the classroom and into a broader understanding of education, health care, nursing and global citizenship.

“It was an opportunity for our students to be global citizens and leaders, and we all built understanding of the lived experience in the health provision of others in our global community,” says Toriida. Rose-Lovett agrees, adding the trip was a great step forward for building teaching capacity in the nursing field in Qatar.

Student experiences 

Daniah Moreno, nursing student at the UCQ and a participant on the trip, says she was eager to go on this life-changing exchange to Indonesia for two reasons: “The first reason is because I have always felt the obligation to help those who have less opportunities because at the end of the day we are all equally love-deserving human beings. The second is because I wanted to challenge myself and see how I would be in such a different environment — one's true colours are seen when they're stressed and exhausted.” 

Another of the 20 students exchange students, Laila Mustafa, says the trip’s cultural lessons stuck with her the most. “I learned we are more similar than we are different,” Mustafa says. “We might differ in cultures and values, but we all want to grow and be a part of something great.”

And although nursing student Asma Hassan agrees the experience was culturally significant and impactful for her, it all came back to nursing.

“One takeaway from the international experience is the changing approach of modern nursing and promoting nursing image as an independent, dynamic profession in the health-care system,” Hassan says. “It’s important to promote our individualized role, its impact on patients and our future nursing careers in Qatar.”

The Indonesia trip did not go unnoticed in Qatar either, with multiple media outlets profiling the students, the trip and the UCQ nursing program. Read these stories on the Qatar Tribune and Qatar is Booming, and learn more about the UCQ campus and their nursing program.