Tech Students Gain Valuable Experience Abroad

Students from Tech had the chance to experience healthcare abroad this summer when eight nursing students and one business student traveled overseas to spend 30 days in Finland.

These students spent time in a classroom setting, in hands-on simulation experiences and touring the streets of Russia and Finland.

Jenny Maffett, assistant professor of nursing, accompanied the students on their study abroad adventure.

“I enjoyed being the professor that was able to go on the trip,” Maffett said.  “I was also a guest lecture for the health and applied science module.”

Bethany Stewart, a senior nursing student, said the trip was educational and eye-opening.

“We did a lot of research on our own healthcare system before we went so that when we met with students from the Czech Republic and Finland in the first few days, we could compare our own nation’s healthcare policies,” Stewart said.  “Finland has outstanding nationalized healthcare. Everyone there is taken care of. It was very different from ours and that’s why it was so important we learn about it.”

Students on the trip studied at Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences in Rovaniemi, Finland. They earned six foreign studies credit hours for their class work overseas.

Maffett commented on the differences in learning styles of Finland’s students.

“The whole university teaches through problem-based learning which is something we have been gradually building on here at the Tech nursing program,” Maffett said.  “It was very helpful to see how it worked at a university that had been doing it for years. We were all able to learn through that and I brought some techniques back to share with Tech.”

Students said that the hands-on work was critical.

“We toured a hospital and saw how scarce they were,” Stewart said.  “They don’t have competing companies there because everything is provided by the government. Finland  doesn’t invest in some of the frivolous luxuries our hospitals have like private rooms. We also met a man from Tennessee who had been transferred to Finland to work with the Salvation Army program. He told us that Russia doesn’t provide for its homeless so they try to help them make it through the cold winter weather with hot meals and warm common areas called ‘hot rooms.'”

The students spent two weeks in Rovaniemi, and then took a weekend escape to St. Petersburg, Russia before continuing their studies in Pori, Finland.

“I had the chance to experience the ‘midnight sun’ in Finland, where it doesn’t ever get darker than twilight during the nighttime,” Stewart said.  “In Russia, I watched the Russian ballet perform “The Nutcracker” and I visited The Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum.”

Overall, the exposure to other cultures has benefited the students and faculty who went.

“We thought this would broaden them as nurses and give them a bigger vision of cultural differences as they prepare to care for patients,” Maffett said.  “I feel it is really important for any college student to study abroad and experience other cultures if he or she has the chance. The Magellan Study Abroad program would gladly welcome more students from Tech.”

For more information on studying abroad, visit