Madison Burnie’s Story – NSCC International


Hello, my name is Madison Burnie and I am a 21-year-old second year nursing student with Nova Scotia community college. I am from a small town in Nova Scotia called Digby. This is a small fishing community with a population of under 3000 people. Growing up I never really travelled other places outside of Canada, except Cuba and small provinces off of Nova Scotia. When this opportunity came up for summer school in the Netherlands, I did not see myself being able to do it. 

It was really nerve-wracking for me to go through the interviewing process and to actually apply because I was doing something so outside of my comfort zone that I was not normally used to doing. I never thought that I would be the person to be picked for this amazing adventure. Half the reason I applied is because I wanted to do something outside of my comfort zone and be independent with myself. It didn’t help that the Netherlands was the number one place on my bucket list I’ve always wanted to go to since grade 9 when reading all the books about Anne Frank. I was an avid Anne Frank book reader. So, when I got my acceptance letter, I was tearful I was excited I thought how could this be real. I got chose to do something so amazing.

Fast forward to a few months, doing my courses to prepare for my trip. It finally came the day that I was supposed to leave. I was so nervous and anxious because I was hoping I would fit in with my crew. I had never travelled by myself with people I didn’t know, and I never travelled without my family before in Canada let alone internationally, so this was a really big step for me and my independence.

I quickly learned that my group I was going with were quite amazing, and that we got along so well. It was a relief, the plane ride there was amazing and when I finally got there, the culture shock was real. The architecture was old and different the way they spoke it was different, the way they transported themselves from point A to point B was different so I thought while I am here, I am going to try to integrate myself into their culture as much as I can so me and a friend, Hillary and Courtney rented bikes and we took them everywhere the entire time we were there.

Going into my first day of classes it was nerve-wracking to be able to meet people of other countries, but I weirdly felt comfortable. It was amazing to learn about different cultures, and to learn about some thing related to the field of work that I am going in to. For example, learning about transition in care to learn about health inequities and equality, to learn about health literacy. All these things tapped into the profession that I’m going to go in in the fall and by being at school in the Netherlands, it made me better prepared for when I enter the real world of my working profession. We got to be taught by different people different cultures and that was pretty cool. It taught me adaptability.

Of course, I didn’t only do school. I did excursions to small islands to Amsterdam and to other beautiful places. I got to completely indulge in the culture of the Netherlands I got to see the countryside I got to see the city side I got to see the beautiful architecture of Europe, and how old it is and how different it is compared to Canadian architecture. It was truly amazing. This opportunity has changed me, and I will carry this opportunity with me forever. I never thought that I would jump across the pond find myself doing something for myself and yet there I was.

I made so many friends that to this day I still talk to, and they will be lifelong friends. There were hardships, but we got through them. One example was we went to a concert and our train was cancelled.  I never thought I would be going to see Harry styles. He is my favourite artist; he is amazing, and I never seen myself seeing such a big rockstar in concert. I did things while in the Netherlands not only out of my comfort zone but things I wouldn’t normally do so I could completely indulge in their culture and completely experience the full experience.

Being in this summer school was one of the best things that have ever happened to me not only because of the schooling, and what I learned but because it opened me up as a person so much more. By going it taught me more than what the lectures taught me. It taught me self-efficacy it taught me How to speak up, it taught me that there’s so much more in this world to see and that I hope throughout my adulthood I will get to see it. It opened my eyes as a sheltered person that rarely travelled to know that there are more things out there in that life isn’t just to work it is to experience to travel so I am very grateful for this opportunity. I’m very grateful I got to meet amazing people around the world. Thank you Hanze university thank you, Groningen and thank you Nova Scotia community college. I will carry this experience with me forever.


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