When Rachel Williams was searching for a university, she had a clear idea of the career she wanted to follow. "I had ambitions of working for the Red Cross and Doctors without Borders, and thought any experience outside of the UK would make me a more desirable candidate and prepare me better for working overseas. As a prospective student nurse I was aware that my experience would be limited to the operating methods of the National Health Service (NHS)."
Rachel chose to leave her native Devon for the bright lights of London to study European Nursing at Middlesex University.
"London was the ideal location because it's a culturally diverse, highly populated city and I felt that living and working in London would give me a unique experience that I wouldn't necessarily get in other parts of the country," she says. "Middlesex was the only university to offer the European Nursing degree, including a European placement, which I felt would further broaden my experience and better prepare me for professional practice on qualifying."
As part of her training, Rachel attended the University of Malta and worked in the accident and emergency, cardiac, surgical and intensive care departments of the Mater Dei teaching hospital. "I was in at the deep end, for sure," she recalls. "At first it was disorientating, especially as I didn't speak the language, but I quickly settled in. I worked hard to develop my communication skills and become a valuable member of the team. At the end of the placement I was assessed by my mentor and achieved excellent feedback and a high final grade. The placement was challenging but incredibly rewarding, and I'd recommend the experience to anyone."
Rachel has since gone to become an Ambassador with the British Council and working in an intensive therapy unit at a leading hospital. "My experiences abroad have certainly given me an edge. For me, Middlesex was a great place to train as a nurse. The opportunities on the other side are endless."