STUDY IMPRESSION - Two Finns on Erasmus exchange in Slovenia
We wanted to go exchange to experience other cultures and see how the health care system works in another country. We chose Slovenia because it was a country we've never been before and it sounded a perfect place to spend the autumn.
Once we arrived to Slovenia, we were welcomed warmly by the student tutors as well as the faculty members. They made sure we were adjusting to a new country and we had a few lessons of Slovene language to familiar ourselves with the common phrases and such. Teachers contacted us often to make sure we were doing fine, and if something was wrong they tried to fix it quickly. Throughout the exchange, the tutors were extremely helpful as they guided us to overcome little bumps on the way. Kim and Manca were the key to see Slovenian culture as a local instead of a tourist. Since we were the only exchange students in the faculty at this time and the time was spent in practice placements instead of school, it was difficult to meet other students.
Altogether we were in four different practice placements, and within those placements we were in various departments. Usually we stayed for a week or two in one ward. It was sometimes hard to adjust to the changes because it took time to learn the ways of the ward. If we had a good mentor, or mentor at all, it was easier to adapt but sometimes it felt like they didn't even know to expect us. Nurses were usually very nice and helpful if they weren't too busy and had time for us. But sometimes we were a bit on their way. We tried to be active and self-initiative, and managed to keep ourselves engaged. Also, other students were extremely helpful and explained things to us if the mentors were occupied. In general, the nurses spoke English but from time to time we took some help from body language and various translators. There weren't too many dissimilarities between Finnish and Slovene health care, which made the exchange easier and we got to practice our clinical skills.
On our free time, especially on weekends, we usually made some trips around Slovenia and the neighbouring countries. Slovenia really is a charming country. We lived in Kranj, so Ljubljana was near and there was always something happening, particularly on Christmas time. Also, nature was easily reached, so we did some mountain hiking as well.
All in all, the exchange was educating and enriching. We had a great time here and we met many wonderful people. Perhaps some day we'll return to this beautiful country!
Annamiina Myllymäki and Anni Saarinen from JAMK University of Applied Sciences, School of Health and Social Studies, Finland