International Pharmacy Experience: Switzerland – Spring Break 2019

Name: Madyson Reed

Type of Project: Study Abroad

I travelled to multiple cities in Switzerland with The OSU College of Pharmacy over spring break. During our week abroad, we visited several cultural sites as well as educational sites, including the WHO, United Nations, Chateau de Chillon, and the University of Basel.

My view of myself has changed through this experience. I now see myself as much more confident in new and unfamiliar situations, as well as more outgoing. My week abroad opened my eyes to everything I am capable of doing and really allowed me to set goals for myself that I would have perceived as unattainable before. I have never travelled abroad before this trip and having done so now, I look forward to experiencing more of the world in my future endeavours. My view of the world has also changed through this experience. Prior to my travels, I never really put much thought into travelling outside of the U.S. just because I didn’t think it was very different or attainable. But, after experiencing the culture in Switzerland, which is admittedly not as different from the US as many other countries are, I am excited to travel to several other countries in Europe as well as other continents. I could honestly even see myself living in Europe for a period of time and really experiencing all the world has to offer. Overall, this experience has really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities I have in my life and has pushed me and my desire to explore any opportunities thrown my way

Exploring a new environment with new people, surrounded by languages that I do not speak was a transformational experience in itself. But, just putting myself outside of my comfort zone like I did allowed me to gain confidence that I can navigate anything in life. I was able to navigate my way through the cities we visited and through the public transport. I made several lasting friendships with those people I did not know and I learned some common phrases in the languages I do not speak. In overcoming all of these obstacles, I gained the confidence I needed to be more outgoing and open to new experiences. These experiences also gave me the confidence to pursue my career goal of being a per diem neonatal RN and eventually nurse practitioner. As a per diem neonatal RN, I will need to navigate unfamiliar environments with new people and processes to be a good nurse and take care of my patients in critical times. Through facing somewhat similar challenges during my time abroad, I have the confidence now to know that I can achieve my goal.

Throughout the visits to several beautiful cities in Switzerland, including Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Lucerne and Lausanne, I have gained a desire to travel as much as I can. The site visit to the United Nations was a very unique experience and I love that I can now say I have been to the UN and was present during a real Human Rights Council meeting. Along with my favorite site visit, to the Chateau de Chillon, I have gained a perspective of what all there is to see in the world. The Chateau was so breathtakingly beautiful and pictures truly did it no justice. It is through this privilege of travelling abroad that I have realized how possible it is and how amazing it is to travel and see things through my own eyes instead of through a lens.

Growing up in a large family, there were never any hopes of going on a vacation anywhere outside of the US, so travelling to Europe or elsewhere has always felt very out of reach for myself and I had accepted this. Along with the financial incapability, I also felt I was incapable of travelling outside of the US because it was just so unfamiliar, with the different currency and languages, I just could never imagine leaving North America. Now, having done it and gaining the confidence with it, I want to go back already, I want to take my family and give them what STEP gave me through the opportunity to study abroad. This experience will continue to transform my perspective and myself as I continue to reflect on different aspects of this experience

This growth is so important to my personal, academic and career goals and has altered them in the week I was abroad. Personally, I have gained the confidence I needed to become a more outgoing person and developed friendships that will continue to grow. Academically, the friends I have gained will be and already are great study buddies and have already helped me in the classes we share by promoting thoughtful discussion and just someone to lean on after a hard exam. I think most importantly, this experience has made my career goals higher and given me the confidence to know that I can and will do per diem neonatal nursing. I can and will pursue my dream of travelling throughout the US to help to tiniest patients and their families in whatever ways I can. I now know that I can adapt and overcome any obstacles thrown my way. I think that the most important part of myself that I discovered is that I can and always will overcome those challenges I face in life and that these challenges will only lead to more personal development.


Mountain against a lake

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *