University of Calgary

Postcard from England



Postcard from England

An avid hockey fan, Jomar Ferreras decided he was willing to miss a few games to experience a practicum in England and test his depth of interest in pediatric nursing. “I came out with an affirmation reinforcing what I believed from the start. I love working with kids.” This is his postcard home.

canada houseWhy study in England?

I spent the past semester in Birmingham, England, a city with about one million residents and a booming economy not unlike Calgary’s. England is a really lively country because everyone congregates on a regular basis. Be it at the pub, the pitch or the bar, people are always out meeting each other. It is also one of the most racially diverse countries that I’ve been to.

Why go on a practicum abroad?

I’m here for a nursing clinical practicum at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s pediatric ICU, along with another Faculty of Nursing student Shauna Turnbull. The PICU specializes in cardiac surgeries pioneered here and in only a couple of hospitals in the U.S. and Japan. The learning curve is inherently steep but caring for infants and kids is well worth it in the end.

floozie in jacuzziWould you recommend it to other students?

I wish that every student had the opportunity and support from the university to experience a practicum outside of our own health region, or even out of our own country. The ability to learn another health-care system broadens your understanding of how health is perceived and valued in society. It also highlights the issues and achievements of our own health-care system. Regardless of the setting, nurses face similar practical, ethical and political dilemmas as they aim to provide the best possible care for their patients. Interacting with nurses in other parts of the world strengthens bonds and promotes solidarity among nursing professionals in any—and every—setting.

What were the highlights of your experience?

My experience so far has had me meeting lots of great people and seeing beautiful sights. I’ve learned a lot and am constantly learning British culture, slang, and most of all, deciphering medical terminology and drug names. If there’s a place essential in a visit to the U.K., it has to be Edinburgh and Rosslyn Chapel. The city is a registered World Heritage Site and the chapel was made famous again by The Da Vinci Code. Both have amazing architecture and have more history stuffed into them than a serving of haggis.

pisaAs a Canadian, how were you treated?

You can really appreciate the global perception of Canadian culture when you step into pubs around Europe. More than a few times, upon learning that a few of my travel partners and I were Canadian, the barman topped up our beers and either apologized that there was no hockey on TV or promptly switched channels to the “coolest game on Earth.”

How have you personally grown from this experience?

I believe any experience outside of your own country—and by association, your culture—will help you grow. Learning to interact with people who have different sets of beliefs and cultural nuances only helps your ability to meet different people abroad and at home. My opportunity to care for newborns, toddlers and adolescent children has really underlined my passion for working in pediatrics. I applied for this placement to test my true interest in pediatric nursing and came out with an affirmation reinforcing what I believed from the start. I just love working with kids.

rosslynWhat are your future plans?

Now that I’ve had a taste of living life in England and travelling around some of the great cities in Europe, I’ve caught the travel bug. This international placement has opened my eyes to the adventure of learning new languages and experiencing different cultures. I plan on returning home and securing a job in the Calgary Health Region as well as taking the time to continue to travel the world.

For more information on study abroad programs please visit the Centre for International Students and Study Abroad website at This postcard was supplied by the International Centre.