Reilly McGovern

Location: Pamplona, Spain, Summer 2019
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Term Abroad: Summer '19

Major: Nursing

Program Name: Spain: Contemporary Global Health Issues

What’s your best memory from your time abroad?

My entire trip was absolutely amazing, and Spain is a beautiful country no matter what part you are in. My favorite memory from my trip was when we took a day trip to a town called San Sebastian, in northern Spain. The entire bus ride up there was amazing, as we drove through the mountains the whole way. There were little towns within the mountains, and even goats standing on the edge of the mountains! The town was beautiful, and we were able to spend the whole day exploring. We even hiked up the side of a mountain to see a statue at the top. It was amazing! I ended up spending the day with students from different universities and made new friends that I still talk to even after the trip. We got to spend time on the beach as well, which was amazing. Overall, it was a great day with great people, views, and food.

If you are considering studying abroad, absolutely do it! It was the best experience I have ever had. It has given me a different perspective and I feel that I have grown a lot, just by having to figure things out in another country on my own.

Reilly McGovern

Initial Thoughts on Arrival & Cultural Adjustment

This was my first study abroad trip, but honestly, I was ecstatic to get to Spain. It was always my dream to travel to Spain, so I was not nervous at all about getting to Spain and being immersed in the culture. I was a little nervous to travel to a different country by myself for the first time, but that did not even compare to the amount of excitement I had to go on my dream trip.

Courses

This program fulfilled 3 credits in my major.

Housing

We stayed in a hotel with students from other universities who were participating in the same program.

Money Matters

I applied for the International Experience Scholarship through the Study Abroad Office, the Global Learning and Research in Nursing scholarship through the School of Nursing, and I had a stipend from the Honors College. The three of these scholarships completely covered the cost of the program, all fees, my plane ticket, housing, and I even had money left over for food and souvenirs.

Leisure & Travelreilly-mcgovern1.jpg

Before the program, I flew into Barcelona and spent a night there prior to the program. I was able to do some sightseeing in Barcelona before traveling to northern Spain for the program. The actual program was in Pamplona, Spain and took place at the University of Navarra. The university had little day trips planned for us for each day of the week. The places we traveled to were San Sebastian, Logroño, and Saint Jean de luz, which was in France. In San Sebastian, we spent the day shopping, exploring, and eating good food. It was beautiful and fun to be on our own. In Logroño, we spent part of the day walking around to different restaurants and had pinchos, which are like little appetizers. We also went on a tour of a winery and got to try different wines. In Saint Jean de luz, we spent the day exploring the town, which was a fishing town. It was amazing, and very interesting to hear people speaking French, when we had been so used to being immersed in Spanish. We also got time to explore Pamplona itself, and we saw where they do the running of the bulls. Another day, we got to tour a hospital and learn about the hospital from nurses who were working there. After the program ended, I traveled back to Barcelona for a few nights where I was able to see La Sagrada Familia, Parc de Montjuic, Park Güell, Bunker del Carmel, La Boqueria Market, and much more in between. I loved everything I saw and did during the whole trip.

Locals

We were very lucky because the nursing students at the University of Navarra all spoke English, as it was a requirement for them to be part of the program. This made it easy for us to communicate with them while we were with the group. However, the locals in Pamplona did not tend to speak a lot of English, as it is a smaller city. Most people were friendly and patient with us and were eager to teach us about their culture and learn a little bit about us.

Advice

If you are considering studying abroad, absolutely do it! It was the best experience I have ever had. It has given me a different perspective and I feel that I have grown a lot, just by having to figure things out in another country on my own. If money is an issue, definitely look into the scholarships that are offered at our school. I was not sure I could afford the program, but with all of my scholarships, I paid nothing out of my own pocket. Before going on the trip, do some research about the areas you will be in, especially if you are doing any independent travel. This will help you get an idea of some key things you would like to see, so that you have a little bit of a plan before you get there. Another big thing is to be open and flexible! Step out of your comfort zone! Try new things and make new friends. This will help you get the most out of your experience. You may even make friendships that will last and give you connections in different parts of the world.

Effect on Career Goals

This trip opened my eyes to how another healthcare system works. It allowed me to identify what works in the US healthcare system, and what could be improved to promote better outcomes for patients. This has inspired to me to apply for leadership roles once I start practicing as a nursing so that I can make change to improve patient outcomes. It also solidified my love for Spanish and has inspired me to continue to work on my Spanish skills, which will be useful when caring for Spanish speaking patients in the future.