It has got to that point on your course where you have started to think about your options regarding elective placements - but how do you decide between choosing a local placement and going abroad?
You’re struggling - the pros and cons list for both are mounting and all you are left with is a cocktail of ideas swirling around your brain.
Did you know there could be a third option?
Well not to fear as I am going to share with you my top three reasons for applying to do an Erasmus traineeship.
Let’s not lie to ourselves. Funding and money in general is a key consideration for nursing students. I for one have always craved to work abroad. However, the thought of having to save up and fundraise to do a £1000+ elective overseas with an organisation was something I was not convinced would be possible. So when I heard about the Erasmus placement option, I was curious.
Put simply, an Erasmus traineeship allows nursing students to undertake a nursing placement as part of an exchange with another European university. And one of the great things it offers is funding.
Yes, that’s right, funding.
If your university offers this option and your application is successful you can receive a grant to help pay for your living costs whilst working abroad. This has meant that for my Erasmus nursing traineeship, I have been given financial support to work as a university exchange student in Spain without the need to pay this money back. On top of this, I am able to apply to claim placement travel expenses and accommodation upon returning to the UK, all of which is a real lifesaver.
2. It’s longer
Unlike the standard four-week elective option, the Erasmus nursing traineeship has allowed me to work, live and travel in another European country for double the amount of time. If you are somebody that has always wanted to experience what it is like to live and work abroad for an extended period of time then this is a great option for you.
On a personal level I have felt better able to fully be a part of both my placement and student life at the exchange university with the addition of four more weeks. I should further mention all those weekends that could be available to you for travelling. In all honesty I am beginning to lose count of the number of weekend trips I have been on now.
“If you are somebody that has always wanted to experience what it is like to live and work abroad for an extended period of time then this is a great option for you”
3. Bonjour! Hola! Guten Tag!
Remember those languages we used to learn back at school - you know, the ones we were convinced would never come in handy again after those dreaded exams?
Well, depending on which country you decide to apply for, having a previous qualification in the language of your preferred exchange country can be a real boost to your application. In some cases, it really can be the deciding factor for being accepted as a nursing exchange student in the country of your choice.
I think in all my years of studying Spanish at secondary school (I think it was 5 years in total) I never would have expected it to help me further down the line in my nursing education. At first glance, it’s such an unlikely combination. But then again, that’s the wonderful power of languages - they can really take you anywhere.
So there we have it, my three recommended reasons for considering an Erasmus traineeship. Go forth, ask your university and see where it can take you during those all-important final-year job interviews.
Sabrina Carter is a current student nurse.