Finding “Hygge” while on a Fulbright

I set off on my third Fulbright adventure, this time as a Fulbright Specialist heading to Oslo, Norway. While working on various nursing curriculum strategies, conducting leadership development workshops and giving talks on evidence-based practice to improve health care, I started noticing something else. There was the essence of  “hygge” all around me. As a newcom er to Norway, I wondered, could I gain some of this cultural experience while I was here?

 

at left: Enjoying Fulbright celebration in Oslo with retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Kenneth J. Braithwaite, U.S. ambassador to Norway. He is a strong supporter of nurses and nurse practitioners!

 

If you don’t know anything about “hygge,” it is a term used primarily in Scandinavian countries (but it is spreading to the U.S.) that describes a mindset or state of being. Originally derived from Danish (Oslo sits almost right across the sea from Copenhagen), hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is a word used when acknowledging a feeling or a moment,  that is cozy, warm, contented, comforting, special or charming. To be “hyggeligt” doesn’t take extraordinary events or activities; hygge can occur, and often does, in day-to-day activities or experiences. What hygge definitely is not is a thing or something you buy (there are no “hygge foods” or “hygge furniture” for sale) and you sure don’t need a class on becoming hyggeligt (although I am sure someone in North America will offer one sooner or later – sigh).

What it took for me to become more culturally-integrated with my Norwegian (and other Scandinavian) colleagues was my taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and slowing my mind, activities, and spirit down a notch or two. Case in point, busy American at work in the office (type, write, read, type, write, read, repeat) – you get the picture. Suddenly the faculty all gather for lunch – together – all take time to come out of their offices and break bread as a group. Not just a few buddies, all of them, and, of course, I am invited. Bowls of fruit or sweets are placed on the table. Everyone gets settled and no one gobbles down their lunch getting ready to spurt back to their paper, lecture, meeting or whatever (oh, except me the first time we did this as I had no idea how to settle down). Everyone focuses, not on work issues, but pleasant conversations of last night’s good concert, the new restaurant reviews, plans for family gatherings and the like. It is just a cozy, relaxed, good-feeling lunch – a little bit of hygge at work. Oh, remember to save room for late afternoon snack time when everyone will gather again for a brief relaxing moment together with cake or sweets and, of course, kaffe.

One of the wonderful opportunities provided by a Fulbright experience is the chance to get to know professional acquaintances on a deeper level as people. I was the happy recipient of many meals prepared by my new friends at their homes. And, of course, the hygge continues. Everyone loves candles – lots of them – and they come out for every meal. Setting a beautiful table, preparing meals from scratch, vases of fresh flowers, enjoying hours of conversation, all are standard hygge experiences when invited to a friend’s house. How relaxing! With a furry seat cover or a knitted throw to cover yourself with on the balcony after dinner…how cozy!

 

at right: Catching a little of the “hygge” spirit (yes: cake, candles, coffee, flowers)

 

 

When in need of a contented, comforting experience never downplay the impact of a good kaffe (A.K.A. coffee) – and in Norway kaffe is a big deal! Wonderful kaffe machines in every office and kaffes all over the town. Whether it’s the typical start your day kaffe, mid-morning break kaffe, mid-afternoon pick up kaffe, and post dinner delight kaffee – kaffe is a simple way to hygge it with friends and co-workers. No wonder Norway is the second leading nation for consuming coffee.  But please, china cups are preferred as they are extremely green-friendly here.

I tried to give you a little feel for my entry into hyggeligt but, to me, this also included the contented, comfortable feeling you get being with new friends from around the world. Each of my Fulbright experiences has allowed me the opportunity to develop creative ideas in research and clinical practice, share educational approaches, learn a different way of thinking and forge closer bonds. I include here each of the Fulbright pathways for faculty and students. I, myself, have had the Scholar (Scotland), Administrator (France) and now the Specialist (Norway).   In a nutshell – Fulbright is life-changing! Check out their website (www.us.fulbrightonline.org for students or www.cies.org for faculty scholars) and their Twitter account @FulbrightAssoc. You can also find many of my Fulbright experiences @DMorrisonBeedy as well. I’d love to write more but guess who just got invited for cake and kaffe? After all, it is afternoon in Oslo.

The uplifting power of partnerships

There is something about working with others who have the same passion, interests, and energy that you do which can be absolutely uplifting. There is also something that takes place within a true partnership, where each person or group is both giving and receiving, that really empowers you to believe that, together, you can accomplish great things. At The Ohio State University College of Nursing we have many opportunities for students to engage with global partners and share an uplifting in-country experience. Our faculty have described the inspiring capabilities of these unique educational offerings below.

When Dr. Lucia Jenusky considers her study abroad work in Honduras, she reflects from two perspectives. “What do our students get out of this experience and what are we doing while in-country for such a short term that can truly transform health care in Honduras and impact the health and well-being of Hondurans? When students have the opportunity to study abroad, they have different travel experience histories, different cultural backgrounds and different reasons for wanting the study abroad experience. As I look at course objectives and student expectations pre- and post-trip, I see the transformation of the students. Even though this trip is short, students can get a great understanding of another culture’s religion, education and healthcare systems, language, food, etc. This trip also introduces students to the impact of NGOs on a country’s education and healthcare. We were very fortunate to be able to ‘pay it forward’ in that we educated future Honduran nurses within the first-ever nursing high school in Honduras. Ohio State University students are part of history in Honduras. We educated the first graduating class of the first nursing high school in Honduras.”

In partnership with The Center for Development in Central America (CDCA), a project of the Jubilee House Community, Inc. (JHC) that has non-profit organization status in the U.S. and “International Mission” status in Nicaragua, Dr. Elizabeth Fitzgerald has led undergraduate and graduate students in a unique service-learning opportunity for many years. As she describes, “Our partnership with CDCA/JHC enables the people they serve to find their own solutions to the problems they identify and connects them with resources to solve their problems. I have found joy through my service experiences and built personal relationships based on trust. The Nicaraguan people are warm, generous, friendly and very proud of their cultural heritage.” Students leave this experience with new insights as they combine a pragmatic educational experience with community service that meets the needs of the people in this Central American country.

Faculty lead Dr. Penny Marzalik writes about an education abroad experience for graduate midwifery students that has been underway on the Isle of Jersey, a small British Crown Dependency Channel isle off the coast of France. “We partnered with the University of Chester in Chester, England for an annual student exchange program. With diligent work and countless Skype sessions in between, last year we welcomed our first two Chester midwives from the Isle of Jersey to Columbus, thus strengthening a collaboration between Chester and Jersey aimed to address the concerning shortage of midwifery staff on the isle. This year, we excitedly await the journey of two of our own Buckeyes. They will travel to the British Isles to gain experiences in midwifery care with the wonderful people of Jersey, continuing during their stay to strengthen our bonds with the University of Chester on this important initiative.” This experience is a great example of reciprocal educational partnerships.

This year, our newest global offering is a partnership with Lovisenberg Diakonale University College in Oslo, Norway. We are so looking forward to this opportunity where graduate entry master’s students, who already possess a bachelor’s degree in another field, will partner with Norwegian nursing students to complete required community health clinical hours. Working together in pairs and teams, these students will address the health care needs of disenfranchised and vulnerable populations including the homebound, refugees and the elderly. The ability to compare and contrast healthcare, educational, and social systems across these two nations in “real-time” will be truly transformative. During this experience we will also provide a “virtual global classroom experience” for those students still stateside. Working together, these students will share learning and life experiences while enjoying all that Oslo as a capital city provides.

No matter the setting here or abroad, students can gain so much from an actual or virtual global experience. Such opportunities provide chances to improve your language skills, travel, imbed in a different culture, see educational and healthcare systems from a different lens, find new interests, and make new friends and connections. Ultimately, for you and the people you meet, work with, and study with, the positive outcomes of becoming a citizen of the world start with these transformational partnerships. #OSUGlobalTransformation

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Dianne Morrison-Beedy

Dianne Morrsion-Beedy serves as the Chief Talent & Global Strategy Officer and the Centennial Professor for The Ohio State University College of Nursing.

The top 10 things to pack (in your brain) for global educational experiences

Traveling abroad is an experience similar to none. Often, you will remember it as one of the best experiences in your lifetime. However, other countries and their cultures are very different from that of the United States’. With that being said, I thought that a few preparation tips from someone who has been abroad several times could be helpful. Enjoy!

10 things to pack

  1. Aglobal mindset: In this educational experience, you will have the opportunity to learn, grow and give back. If you get yourself ready to have an adventure, you will find one.
  2. Curiosity: Be open to learning and experiencing new and different things…isn’t that one of the main reasons for going?
  3. Flexibility: Remember, not everything goes as planned when traveling and not everything can be planned for, so be open to changes. If you are resilient and adaptable, you experience will be more enjoyable.
  4. “Good vibes”: A positive attitude will get you everywhere in life and that includes everywhere you travel around the world.
  5. “This too shall pass” attitude: Sure, things may not go exactly as planned on your trip, they might be not exactly what you expected, at times they could even be disappointing, but know that all these experiences and feelings will pass and eventually good things will come out of the experience.
  6. Wellness focus: To thoroughly enjoy your global experience you need to stay healthy. So, when it comes down to the basics (getting enough rest, staying hydrated, coming prepared with any medications or supplies you may need and paying attention to common-sense advice such as when you can drink the water or eat certain foods) following wise council from your faculty will go far in staying healthy and enjoying your experience.
  7. “Be prepared” motto: Often times you are asked to bring some supplies or equipment with you such as rain gear, good walking shoes, insect repellent, toilet paper and other assorted items. Whatever it is you’re asked to bring, you’re being asked to bring it for a reason, so be prepared to use it and don’t forget to bring it. Remember, around the world everyone doesn’t change their clothes several times a day or wash their clothing after one use. Learn to re-wear your clothes several times.
  8. Cultural competence: You have heard these words in the classroom and discussed them, but now it’s time to put them into action. Your ability to effectively interact with people of different cultures, integrating respect and responsiveness, will take you far in this experience and those that follow.
  9. Humility: It’s important you enter this experience with this mantra - “I am here to learn, I don’t know everything” and be ready and willing to say “I hope you can help me to understand” or “Can you tell me or show me.” A little humility goes a long way in ensuring a positive experience (repeat this mantra several times before leaving on your trip).
  10. “Always a Buckeye” spirit: In all you do, foster and respect the rich diversity that makes Ohio State great and makes us proud as you travel the world #osuglobaltransformation.

Want to share your own advice or experiences with us? Comment below or post on social using #osuglobaltransformation.

Global. Local. Glocal

You might be aware of a fairly new term, the bringing together of two words-global and local-to what is now the buzz term “glocal.” Around the world, we are widely recognizing that whether we are talking about education, healthcare, social services, you name it,

  1. what happens globally affects local communities and
  2. local life in communities reflects the diverse experiences, cultures and people from across the globe.

I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the outstanding glocal connections we have integrated into The Ohio State University College of Nursing. I’m happy to report that we have wonderful international learning experiences for students and will be expanding our options each year.

Gondar, Ethiopia

Students travel to Gondar, Ethiopia over spring break for a 10-day cultural learning experience. This faculty-led education abroad program focuses on assessing the health status and healthcare needs in Ethiopia and understanding concepts of intercultural healthcare. Students will experience the town of Gondar, the largest of the three-former capitals of Ethiopia, which is the setting for the impressive castle of Emperor Fasilidas. The University of Gondar is one of the largest universities and teaching hospitals in Ethiopia. Students will have the opportunity to converse with and learn from Gondar nurses, faculty and students throughout the program. Students will also experience the extraordinary Simien Mountains National Park in Northern Ethiopia. This UNESCO World Heritage site has jaw-dropping peaks and plateaus, and amazing wildlife that will leave all visitors in awe. There are no clinical credits for this program.

Nicaragua

For BSN students in their sophomore or junior year, as well as Graduate Entry, Traditional Master’s students and non-nursing majors, we offer service learning in partnership with the Jubilee House Community/Center for Development in Central America (JHC/CDCA) in Nicaragua. This three-credit course includes pre-departure classes delivered in the spring semester and the in-country portion of the course occurs over a 12-day span in early May. Students participate in five days of service learning at JHC/CDCA’s clinic Nueva Vida in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua and also travel to Matagalpa and engage in education about traditional medicine, coffee manufacturing, as well as observe in a rural healthcare sponsored by the Ministry of Health.

United Kingdom

For Midwifery students we offer a clinical experience in the United Kingdom on the Isle of Jersey, a UK Crown Dependency channel island located between England and France. The spring break elective study abroad program will expose students to the practice of British midwifery within the clinic, hospital and community setting. In partnership with the University of Chester Midwifery educational program on the Isle of Jersey, students are paired with registered midwives throughout the experience.  Nurse-midwifery students in their final clinical year are eligible to apply for the two placements.

Honduras

During spring break, graduate students can receive 60 clinical credit hours at a site in Choluteca, Honduras. Students will work under faculty supervision, providing healthcare and health education in rural villages, public health departments, hospitals and schools. The team also provides education to community healthcare workers and high school students, as well as screenings and medical treatment to patients.

Norway

We are excited to announce a new partnership in Norway for Graduate Entry students enrolled in NURSING 6240S Concepts in Community Health Nursing for summer semester 2019. We are offering the full clinical experience required for the course in partnership with Lovisenberg Diaconal University College (LDUC), which was the first school in Norway to offer a nursing degree (est. 1868). We will have an extraordinary experience partnering with Norwegian nursing students, who are also completing their community health clinical. In addition, students will have opportunities to participate in cultural and educational events on this faculty-led trip including a project “Oslo by Night,” which addresses population-focused care of individuals, families and communities who are disadvantaged or disenfranchised. From the fjords, fishing, skiing, Vikings and healthy lifestyles, we welcome students to journey with us to the land of the midnight sun.

Overall at the College of Nursing, we will continue to think glocalas we expand and refine our international partnerships. Our focus is on global transformation through educational experiences, cutting-edge research and evidence-based practice and community partnerships both here and abroad.

Why Transformative Global Experiences Matter

To transform: to make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance or character of.

This definition from Oxford dictionary is really powerful. It speaks of a process that occurs that is dramatic, but does not address how this change occurs. At The Ohio State University College of Nursing our mission is to transform healthcare and lives. This belief is threaded throughout our curriculum, research, practice and innovations. When we consider how we transform healthcare, both locally and globally, we must understand that one of the biggest challenges that exist worldwide is that there is a scarcity of human resources for health. In a nutshell, there are not enough trained healthcare workers, especially nurses, to meet the health demands of populations around the globe.

Our college focuses on expanding the number of nurses and healthcare innovators to help meet this need. We understand that we will fill this need predominantly in local or national communities, basically our boots on the ground are in areas where our graduates choose to live. Yet a graduate will have increasing opportunities to reach farther and impact the global community through m-health and e-health strategies and the development and implementation of tailored evidence-based interventions that can be integrated worldwide. The healthcare knowledge our graduates gain can be utilized around the world, thanks to the digital revolution irrespective of a nation’s economy, time zone or geography.

Our global experiences are one way in which we transform our students’ thinking and perspective. These transformative experiences will prepare them to be innovators and leaders in the healthcare industry, improving the lives of individuals, families and communities. It is with this agenda in mind that we will be expanding our global opportunities for students, either in-person or in virtual global classroom learning environments.

If you have experienced any of our global initiatives here at the College of Nursing or Ohio State and want to share the impact it’s had on you, both personally and professionally, we would love to hear from you. Tell us where you went, what your experience was like and fill us in on why you chose to be part of a personal global transformation adventure. Comment below or share on social using #osuglobaltransformation.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Dianne Morrison-Beedy

Dianne Morrsion-Beedy serves as the Chief Talent & Global Strategy Officer and the Centennial Professor for The Ohio State University College of Nursing.