We are featuring two students for London Student of the Month in January - Laura Klok and Thjalda Kerkstra from Holland. First out is Laura, an ambitious 18-year-old nursing student who is in her third year of nursing school. She arrived in London for a nine-week work placement with the Internship Programme back in November, which almost makes her a Londoner! She is working at Copland's Nursing Home in Wembley together with Thjalda, where they have made themselves popular among the residents and personell. You can watch their vlogs on Youtube if you want to know more.
Laura describes herself as an adventurous person who likes a challenge – and, by the sound of it, the journey to London lives up to her expectations!
What sparked your interest for health and social care?
I chose nursing because of my grandmother. She always worked in hospitals and I liked to listen to her stories. My mum works with people who are blind and have problems with anxiety. So in a way, the choice was easy. I wanted to work in a hospital!
What has been the best moment of your trip so far?
I am a very touristy person and I really enjoy all the sightseeing. I also liked that Thjalda and I made a lot of new friends during our time here. The best moment so far was visiting Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It was so amazing and beautiful and really felt like home!
What is it like working at Copland’s Nursing Home?
At first it was strange. When Thjalda and I arrived, we looked to each other, thinking: "Where are we?" Everything was very different from the nursing homes in Holland. It is smaller and much warmer than I am used to. At first, we didn't feel comfortable. But when the first week was over, I was used to most of the differences and started to feel comfortable.
What are your tasks?
I shadow the nurse and learn and mimic the nursing tasks. I also write the daily communication, make appointments with the GP or the hospital, I phone the pharmacist and give medication. I also like to do activities with the residents - it is not required of me so I do it on my own initiative.
We have heard you and Thjalda are both a great help to the nursing home. How do you think you achieved that?
Maybe because I am polite, have patience and am interested in the residents and their stories. I am also willing to help out at all times and I ask questions to learn more. What my colleagues tell me is that I am very smart and that they are very happy with my work.
How would you compare it to your work or school back home?
Working here is very different from working in Holland. The nurse has much more of a managerial position, doing all the paperwork and more advanced tasks, whereas the care workers take care of the residents and make sure they are clean, dressed and eat their food. In Holland, there isn't much difference between a care worker and a nurse. In the beginning, it was difficult for me to get my head around these differences, but now I’m used to it and would probably find it strange to work in Holland again.
How has this experience inspired you?
It has inspired me to travel more and learn about different cultures. In the five weeks I have been here I have already learned so much! I have also improved my English and feel more like an adult.
What have you found most exciting about working and living in a new country?
The most exciting part is to live with a host family and speak English all the time. I also found it exciting to be on my own and manage my own life as I have lived with my parents up until this point. I like it and I am enjoying my time here.
What are your plans for the future?
My plan is to finish my studies next year and then continue with a Masters Degree. I also want to explore the world and travel. In ten years, I see myself working on the A&E in a hospital or with children.
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
My advice is to take this chance and enjoy your time here! Before you know, it is over. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you learn a lot about the culture and about yourself. You become more grown-up and independent.
Laura visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Now we are also arranging work experience projects in Dublin. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.