Ghanaian Erasmus+ students' experiences of a semester abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic
This article describes two Ghanaian students' experiences of connecting with learning, faculty, family and friends during an Erasmus+ semester abroad in Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic. University faculty members' experiences are also explored. The students describe their experiences of adjusting to new ways of learning online and living through lockdown in a country far from home. These reflections highlight the students' positive learning experiences during a journey of both personal and professional development while also highlighting the challenges of converting to an online learning environment. These experiences illustrate the students' unexpected opportunities and challenges, demonstrating how support from the university faculty, Erasmus+ team and friends, both virtually and physically, helped them through this unprecedented time. This article presents an account of the students' and staff's learning experiences during a semester that was affected by the pandemic.
Higher education institutions around the world embrace the inclusion of international students on their programmes. Specifically, there is increasing evidence of the value of internationalisation within nurse education (Wihlborg and Robson, 2018) and learning and working in a different country remains a valuable experience for students in preparing them for nursing in multicultural societies (Leung et al, 2020). A search of the literature has found that international students experience difficulties adapting to student life, mainly due to unfamiliar models of education (Kahn and Misiaszek, 2019), academic English and the technical language of health care (Crawford and Candlin, 2013), social isolation (Jeong et al, 2011) and loneliness (Alloh et al, 2018). This article explores the experiences of two Ghanaian students on an Erasmus+ international exchange initiative and those of their faculty staff, during a semester of study abroad in Ireland before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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