Study Abroad Reflection – Beijing, China 2015 by Nikki Yannatos

Nikki Yannatos

Study Abroad Reflection – Beijing, China 2015

Studying abroad in Beijing, China was the adventure of a lifetime and I am thankful to have been apart of it. Being able to meet and talk with patients, nurses, physicians, professors and local people from Beijing has made this trip unforgettable. I now feel like I have a great grasp on the Chinese culture and I am able to appreciate their thought processes. For example, when a Chinese patient asks for a hot cup of water I am now able to understand that the purpose of the hot cup of water is to keep their yin and yang in balance. Yin and yang is a very important concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Being able to visit many hospitals, including a TCM Hospital, enhanced my learning experience. I loved spending time at TCM Hospitals because I was able to apply what we learned in lecture to clinical practice. Seeing acupuncture and cupping in person was a fantastic experience because we were able to ask the physicians and patients any questions that we had about the treatment or why they were receiving the treatment. Asking questions made learning easier and really allowed us to truly understand the concepts of TCM.

Not only do I now understand the difference of nursing in China compared to the United States but I also had a chance to eat traditional Chinese food such as duck, dumplings, and noodles. I will also never forget having the opportunity to visit breathtaking historical places like the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City. I will miss talking to the students from Peking University about how different nursing is in the China compared to the United States as well as simply just getting to know them and what their culture involves. I hope I was able to make a difference in the lives of those I met because they made a difference in mine. I made memories that will last my lifetime and I will smile every time I use chopsticks because it will bring me back in time to when I studied abroad in Beijing, China.

Study Abroad Reflection: Beijing, China by Elizabeth Martin

Elizabeth Martin                                            Study Abroad Reflection: Beijing, China in Spring 2015

My study abroad trip to Beijing, China is journey I will remember for the rest of my life. I was interested in this particular program for several reasons; one being that it was a two-week intensive program versus a whole semester long and another being how unique it was with a major focus being on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Once I got off the 13-hour flight to this country, I did not know what to expect but I was excited to see all it had to offer and how I could apply my nursing knowledge.

I was fortunate enough to collaborate with two excellent universities during my stay with the rest of my classmates: Peking University and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. All the students and faculty were very welcoming which made the experience that much more rewarding. My classmates and I were given the opportunity to attend several lectures given to us by the faculty members of these two universities as well as getting some hands on experiences in various clinical settings. There were some differences that I found between the Chinese and American health care systems but I found ways that each system could learn from each other. It was great to share my knowledge and experiences and vice versa.

In terms of Chinese culture, my group and I delved right into as soon as we arrived. We feasted everyday eating the most delicious traditional Chinese cuisines and explored the most beautiful sights in Beijing including the breath taking Great Wall of China, Lama Temple, The Forbidden City, The Temple of Heaven, Beijing Olympic Park and 798 art district. There were some times when culture shock was present but I think that is what traveling abroad is all about; learning about different cultures and taking the time out to understand certain customs and beliefs. I learned a great deal during my stay in Beijing and I am so grateful I was given this amazing opportunity.

Nursing in Beijing March 23, 2015 by Alexis Oseiwusu

Nursing in Beijing, March 23, 2015

Alexis Oseiwusu

Ni Hao! Last month, I embarked on a trip that successfully opened my eyes to things that I otherwise would have never gotten a chance to see. When I first began thinking about applying for the nursing study abroad trip to Beijing, I thought of it just as a way to experience the world of nursing in a different country without having to miss my entire last semester of college. I had no idea that I would learn so much and meet so many wonderful people along the way. The trip approached very quickly and before I knew it, I was getting on a plane wondering how I would survive 14 hours in the air. Thankfully, the flight wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be and I was able to sleep most of it away.

From the moment we landed to the moment we left, I’d have to say that the whole trip was a culture shock for me. I’ll start with the amount of people and cars we encountered everyday. There were always so many people around, no matter where we went. The streets of Beijing were like the streets of NYC, multiplied by 10. The fact that there was very little traffic regulation didn’t really help the madness in the streets either.

On top of there being so many people, most of these people were amazed by us “Americans”. I’ve never felt like more of a celebrity. Almost everywhere we went, there was either someone with a camera trying to take our pictures or staring at us fervently. I think this really shocked us because we live in a country where we see various types of people of different colors, sizes and shapes everyday. However, for the most part in China, the majority of the population is native Chinese and most people don’t see individuals of other races everyday. Although it was annoying at times, we tried our best to embrace their curiosity and smiled for countless pictures.

Other aspects of Chinese culture that we adapted to were the language and the food. We never learned to write any Chinese characters but we were able to learn a few words, including being able to count to 10.  “Eee, arr, sahn!” (one, two, three) was a phrase we became very familiar with as it was often said during our various photo-shoots. After two weeks in China I still can’t understand Mandarin (surprising?), but I’ve noticed that since being back in the states, I am able to pick up on when people are speaking it. The food was one thing that we got adjusted to very easily, (I probably shouldn’t eat another dumpling for at least three months). Lunch and dinner were pretty much always big feasts filled with different delicious plates of food.  The whole time we were there I think we only used a fork about two or three times so I am also proud to say that I have now advanced from a beginner chopstick user to an intermediate level.

Overall, everyday we met people who were so welcoming and so happy to have us around. Beijing is not only filled with delightful people but also with countless beautiful, breathtaking historical sites (I will NEVER forget climbing the Great Wall). Furthermore, visiting the various hospitals not only made me appreciate the health care that we provide to our patients here in America, but also made me develop a new admiration and respect for alternative medical therapies, specifically, Traditional Chinese Medicine. This was definitely an experience of a lifetime and I feel very fortunate to have been chosen to go on the trip.

Dragon Back Trail

My favorite activity in Hong Kong was the hike on the Dragon Back Trail.  We decided to do it in the last week of our trip.  Being from rural Jamaica, it was very much reminiscent of the path to my family’s home in Jamaica.  It made me home sick.  It was such a peaceful and serene environment, that while I was enjoying the hike with my fellow group members and Professor Engler, I couldn’t help but reflect on life and my experiences.  If I were to choose a place for seclusion, meditation, prayer and reflection, I would love to do it at the peak of the Dragon Back Trail.

-Bridgette Knight


Kowloon was my absolute favorite section of Hong Kong.  I think that it was the most ethnically diverse area in Hong Kong. As a Muslim who wears hijab (the head-scarf) I came with the assumption that I would stick out like a sore thumb.  I read many articles and writings about Muslims in Hong Kong, it never clicked that there would be Muslims from all over the world here.  I expected the Muslims that I would meet to be of Hui descent.  On Friday, March 1, 2013, I was determined to go to Jummah (the Friday sermon) at the Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Center. From the hotel I took a taxi to the Central Pier, and from there I took the 10 minute ferry.  From the Kowloon Pier, the masjid was a 10 minute walk.  When I arrived, I was welcomed at the entrance by a Sister who was from Indonesia.  I made my way upstairs to the prayer hall for Sisters.  When I entered I was so surprised to see the many different faces of Islam.  It was beautiful.  It brought me to tears to see that no matter where I went in the world, I was surrounded by Sisters of Arab, African, Asian, and European descent and they all welcomed me.  The khutbah (sermon) was given in 3 different languages.  Since the largest masjid is located in Kowloon, it has become the central area for Muslims in Hong Kong.  Many Muslims live and work close to it, and therefore, it is part of the reason why there is so much ethnic diversity in Kowloon.  If I was to live in Hong Kong, I would want to live in Kowloon.

-Bridgette Knight

My Experience

The two week capstone program in Hong Kong was one of the most enriching experiences in my life. I enjoyed learning about the history of Hong Kong and exploring Chinese culture and food. Additionally, I had the opportunity to observe modern western medicine practice in public and private hospitals, as well as experiment some traditional Chinese medicine such as acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and cupping therapy which made this trip an unforgettable one.
Looking back at everything we did and explored in only two weeks makes me feel grateful and fortunate that I had this experience. Besides exploring Hong Kong Island, we also visited incredible places such as Lantau island, Macau, Kowloon and met amazing people along the way. Teamwork and organization of our group was the key to accomplishing our busy schedules.
I strongly believe this program offer students the chance to connect with people and its culture in a very special way. Everyone was so attentive and polite that made our departure kind of nostalgic. Having the chance to meet students from the classes we attended at the University of Honk Kong facilitated our understanding about how family traditions influence patient care.
Making contact with the students was fascinating because we were able to learn how passionated they were about filial piety, which is the most important value in the Chinese culture, that regulates the behavior of children towards their elderly parents. This discussion was very interesting because it led to an exchange of knowledge and cultural values. I believe this program allows UConn and HKU students to really experience a new culture.
I want to give special thanks to Dr. Engler for his effort on expanding the options of traveling to new clinical sites. It was beneficial to visit a public hospital to learn more about the delivery system in Hong Kong.

-Milena Tuta

March 10, 2013

The capstone study abroad in Hong Kong for two weeks was an amazing experience. We did a lot in two weeks and we all wished we could have stayed longer. The contrast and fusion of eastern and western cultures are everywhere, from the architecture to cultural habits. People were extremely friendly and helpful in the hospitals, schools and even on the streets. Although not everyone spoke English, most people did and were willing to help.

It was very interesting to hear about the local’s perspective about their universal health system and about nursing in Hong Kong. Being immerged in their culture helped us think about the struggles they may have.

We learned that hospital quality control such as patient identification, medication errors, and falls are extremely challenging there. These challenges are better understood when we take in consideration a few facts: government hospitals are free for citizens, there is a local culture of doctor shopping, and quick patient turn over is necessary to serve the large demand. Thus he nurse-patient ratio is high, about 1 nurse for 10 patients in the pediatric unit, which makes harder for them to provide safe care.

We also learned and experienced some traditional Chinese medicine, which is widely practice in Mainland China, but less practiced in Hong Kong. The schooling takes 5 years and students have to go to the mainland to do clinical during the last year because Hong Kong only have small Chinese Medicine clinics and no hospitals.

This is a program for those who would like to travel, meet people from different countries, try new foods, learn about international nursing practices, and explore exotic places.

-Ellen Tsugami-Mercer