I’m Ludwig, and at this moment I am studying my fifth term (third year) of the nursing program in Jonkoping University. Or at least I would have if I didn’t go on exchange to South Africa for 4,5 months. I studied at the University of the Free State and finished a little bit earlier than my friends back home since the dates for the term are different. I did however miss out on half my summer-break since we started studying the 23rd of July.
I have a great passion for traveling and experiencing different cultures than what I’m used to, therefore an exchange term was no doubt for me. I did choose between Netherlands and South Africa but ended up selecting South Africa since my perception was that the culture down there differed a lot from ours back home. The educational part was slightly different than in Jonkoping since we in South Africa read 3 courses at a time (Psychology, Theoretical Psychiatry and Practical Psychiatry) which lasted the whole term. The two theoretical courses consisted of 3 tests each, some hand in papers and a main exam in the end of the year. Whilst the practical consisted of practical work (duh….) at three different places, a day care for disabled children, a psychiatric hospital and a psychiatric criminal institution.
Something that we soon learned about South Africa after arriving was that organization wasn’t their strongest side. The two theoretical courses worked out just fine while the practical was a little bit worse where some of us had to complete almost twice as much practical work as the other half. Otherwise we mainly observed in the practical work except for the daycare where we really got to integrate with the children. Even though it was a little bit uneven it was still really interesting to see how they worked there and I learned a lot.
Despite being a bit unorganized, we got all the information we needed, and the international coordinator was very helpful and quick in responding to emails. Once arrived some question marks did however appear where we didn’t really know where our lecturers were and where we got the student literature. This did sort itself out in time and we managed fine in the end.