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.