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  • Kirsten Conrad

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: My First Summer as an Overseas Travel Nurse

"I spent the summer sneaking into towers at the university and punting down the river Cam on sunny afternoons."


As a chronic over-packer, I think I shocked everyone when I was able to pack my whole life into two suitcases and a tote bag to start my new life as an overseas travel nurse. I boarded the plane with a heart flowing with mixed emotions- fear and sadness to fly away from my sweet home state of Texas, where all my friends and family reside, but also so much excitement and anticipation to live in a new country.

One of my first visits to London Bridge!

As many people know, moving is one of the top stressors a person can experience in life. Now add a new culture and country on top of that. My first few weeks were TOUGH trying to navigate both my new home and my new job, and the differences that entail being an American nurse in an English hospital. I cried lots of tears of both homesickness and frustration, but as summer comes to a close, I’m finally feeling like I’m settling in to my new English life (enjoying tea and biscuits as I write this!).


After several weeks of shadowing nurses and taking two exams, I am now a fully qualified UK nurse and able to take my own patients. I can navigate public transportation with minimal tears. I know what a “hob” is after a lot of initial confusion in the kitchen. I’m doing it y’all!


While it’s had its challenges, moving over has also already been SO much fun! I spent the summer exploring my new home in Cambridge, from sneaking into towers at the university to punting down the river Cam on sunny afternoons. I went to the coast of Wales and spent the weekend hiking and having ice cream on the beach. I traveled to one of my favorites cities, Edinburgh, for the fringe festival, where I saw shows with acts from all over the world and ate my weight in festival foods. I spent many hot, summer days wandering London with the man I love, doing everything from visiting touristy sites to dancing in a dive bar that specializes in wedding music.


Punting on the river Cam, in Cambridge

Some of my favorite things I've done in London so far are picnics in Hyde Park, going to a high tea (pricey, but worth going every now and again), seeing a show at the West End (highly recommend The Cursed Child for my Harry Potter lovers), and walking along the Thames to take in the city. And it’s only the beginning! When I get a little homesick, I think of all the things I’m getting to experience, all the places I plan to go, and all the people I’ve been meeting. I’m excited to see what the year holds and how many scones I can consume in the meantime!


Cheers y’all!


Kirsten x

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