March 28, 2019

Keio University Short-Term Exchange

By: Sandra Kolberg (ABSN Student) and Jessica Lee (BSN Student)

Being a part of the Nursing program at the University of Washington has provided us with some incredible opportunities. We receive constant encouragement to learn and grow through diverse experiences on campus, within the community, or even internationally. One of the experiences available to us was the short-term nursing studies program at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan. After receiving an email outlining the program and encouraging us to apply, UW was going to send two nursing students to learn about aging populations from a global health perspective. Nursing students from four other countries would participate and we would spend the week immersed in Japanese culture while discussing how nursing practice varied between our respective countries.

Our time spent at Keio University was not only a great learning experience, but also beneficial to our future careers as nurses. During this nursing exchange, we were able to collaborate with students from Japan, China, Korea, and the United Kingdom to learn more about nursing systems in other countries and brainstorm ideas on how to alleviate the issue of an increasingly aging society. We spent our time in Keio University’ classrooms listening to lectures from professors and we also had hands-on experience at Keio Hospital and shadowing home healthcare nurses. Seeing how the healthcare system runs in Japan was a humbling experience, as the nurses treat their patients with the utmost compassion and kindness. However, the most meaningful part of this trip was being able to connect with the nursing students from other countries. Nursing is a field that requires continual learning and growth. As such, it was a great opportunity to learn firsthand what it means and what it is like to be a nurse in other parts of the world so that we can learn how to be better nurses as well.

The learning and growth that occurred on this trip exceeded all expectations. We were welcomed with open arms to participate and observe how another country provides care to its people through nursing. The other students from each country were so warm and welcoming; wonderful friendships developed regardless of any cultural or language barrier. We were able to laugh and joke with new friends and colleagues, experience a new culture, and discuss changes we would like to see in our own healthcare systems. We were able to inspire each other through each country’s strengths, and develop our own ideals we would like to put into practice. We are incredibly thankful for this experience, and will take our newly developed global perspective into our careers as professional nurses.