Elizabeth Moulton was one of eight students who went to Cameroon for Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College’s first international immersion program. She shares with us what she’s learned.
“This trip was a monumental opportunity for my personal, intellectual and professional growth. Working with my Cameroonian and American friends brought a broader realization to my personhood. The workshop did not change me, but rather, I grew to encompass more of the world. I learned factual things that I can describe, such as the knowledge of HIV/AIDS, but also how to facilitate communication between incredibly different people. I learned indescribable lessons as well. Many of my social interactions with the African students outside of the workshop fall into this category. Simply eating lunch with them and listening to them speak Pidgin with the social barriers broken down momentarily, allowed me to see them truly as peers and not simply as students.
There were still barriers. The University of Buea is an English-speaking university, so I assumed the communication would be similar to my friends here. These students did speak excellent English, but it was easy to forget that this was not their native language. I learned other lessons from this, mostly being that I speak too quickly and also use too many colloquialisms. (It took me two whole days to realize that the reason the women weren’t speaking up was because I used the phrase “guys” when I addressed the whole group and they assumed I only wanted the two men in the group to speak.)
The most rewarding moment came a few weeks after returning home. One of the students in my group emailed me and said I had “inspired her to be a better nurse.” That’s what it’s all about, right? The goal of every nurse should be excellence in patient care as well as inspiring and encouraging better care wherever we go, whether in the Central West End (St. Louis) or halfway across the world.”
– Elizabeth Moulton, Accelerated BSN ’11