Two things that I have learned during the Oxford Honors program that I am most excited about implementing are my adaptability skills and my ability to do good work under pressure. I feel like I was able to adapt well to the culture, my peers, my teachers, and the course. I had no idea how I would adapt to a different culture, and an unfamiliar place, but as soon as I got there, all of my fears went away as soon as I stepped of the plane. Everyone that I met was very nice, including everyone that was a part of the program. Of course, there was some school work, and that helped me to push my limits, and it helped me learn that I can do way more than I ever thought I could.
My advice to other students who may be considering applying for this program would be to do it! This experience was completely worth delaying my graduation for one term. This program gave me the opportunity to go to a whole new country, which was a really big deal to me, because I have not ever traveled outside of the US, and barely have traveled outside of Texas. This program has opened my mind to a whole new world, and has helped me to expand my horizons. I have learned so much, from what it is like to be a nurse in the UK, to different healthcare systems across the globe. I also got the chance to meet some really amazing people that I would not have been able to meet if it was not for this program. Thank you, West Coast University, for this amazing opportunity!
What a journey this has all been. From preparing for the trip, going on the trip, studying in Oxford, coming home whilst, writing about it all; I have had one of the best summers of my life. When I step onto campus for the first time in nearly 12 weeks, I will be thrilled to share my experiences with any student that asks. I am bursting with positive information about the Oxford Honors program and would love to sit down over coffee or in between classes to chat about all that I have learned as a student nurse and as a person.
Two things I learned in Oxford that really touched my heart and I plan on implementing as soon as I begin clinical and lecture are: teamwork is really dream work (that is no lie) and treat your patients as you would like to be treated. To touch on the first, teamwork is dream work, after studying at Oxford I value teamwork immensely.
Before the trip, I was more of a lone wolf when it came to projects or studying. However, this program has allowed me to see just how valuable classmates are. We all bring something new to the table, whether that may be a quality, piece of information or coffee; but, working as a diverse group is much more efficient than working alone. The next valuable thing that I learned while in Oxford is from simply visiting the English hospitals. Their healthcare professionals are so incredibly focused on treating their patients with dignity, care and love that it was heartwarming to see them interact with everyone. When I begin clinical this fall, I would like to adopt this method of caring for my patients. This shows your patients how much you care for their wellbeing.
Overall, this trip has been a life changing experience. I truly believe that time spent in Oxford, as well as the optional travel time before and after, was well worth delaying my graduation date by one term. From all of the knowledge that you will gain, all of the experiences you will have and all of the friends and connections you will make; the OHP is worth it.
Of the many things that I learned during the Oxford Honors programs, I hope that I can implement two primary skills: communication skills that help me collaborate with health care team members more efficiently and research skills that help me establish baseline knowledge that I can apply to my daily or future practice as a student or registered nurse. Both communication and research skills are great skills that can be improved and used in the application for improving nursing care.
During the Oxford Honors program, I learned that communication and research skills are indispensable and achieved by personal mastery of one’s own self-awareness as a nursing student or nursing professional.
If I can give any other students who are considering applying to the Oxford Honors program advice, I would just say, “Do it!” because you cannot go wrong with trying. I think that the experience was so worth delaying my graduation one term! There was no hesitation that I would not graduate on time because all I could think about was how this experience could build on everything that I have already learned and how it would affect what I am to learn. I learned so much about myself and how to look at the nursing profession in the global health care industry that I could not take any of that for granted.
A lot of what I am pursuing was encompassed by this trip. I was able to expand my network by working with other students from other campuses, and I was also able to expand my network by working with esteemed faculty members of West Coast University. In addition to the network of peers and professionals I met and learned beside, I was also able to create friendships and a family.
Through all of my experiences both in and outside the classroom, the Oxford Honors program has greatly improved my abilities to creatively solve problems by applying familiar concepts to unfamiliar situations.
Working with students whom all had different ways of approaching assignments helped me step out of my comfort zone. This experience helped me look at several situations using a different perspective while maintaining my self-confidence. One skill I enhanced was my ability to listen. I was able to learn from people whose thought processes are different than mine.
I have learned so many things about myself that I never knew before. If I can describe my entire experience in one word, it would be “resilience.” I learned how to be flexible and adapt to rapidly changing situations and new environments. After this program, I am confident to say that I have grown to become a stronger person and an even greater future nurse.
For the students who are considering applying for the Oxford Honors program, I say "Go for It!" Don’t think twice – just go! You are guaranteed to learn more than you imagine. When you’re out there, exposed, separated from your comfort zone, you will discover a different version of yourself. You will not only grow as a person, but also gain a new perspective as a future nurse. In order to grow, you need new exposure. So, get out there and broaden your horizons!
Courtney Rae Pattugalan
It feels surreal to be back home preparing for the next school term as I anticipate how it will compare to my experience abroad in Oxford. While I feel like I have shared my favorite memories of nights spent rehearsing presentations over cups of top ramen, seeing historical places in Oxford like Christ Church College, spending the Fourth of July at the Hertford College boathouse along the Thames River, and making new friends with whom I share a close bond with, I plan to return to my campus and also recount my academic experiences that I feel have helped me grow professionally and shaped me to already becoming a better nurse.
I would strongly encourage other students from my campus to apply to the Oxford Honors program. I would advise any students who are considering applying to continue to push themselves and work hard to maintain good grades. From this experience, I feel that I have expanded my network to now include students from other West Coast University campuses and have mutually learned so much from them just as I have imparted my knowledge and experiences as well. While I did delay my graduation one term, my time spent studying abroad in Oxford was worth every moment. Not only is the Oxford Honors program a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to challenge oneself to grow personally and professionally, but it is also a chance to follow in the footsteps of academia’s finest and make history of one’s own.