Location: Póvoa de Varzim, Portugal
Duration: 2 weeks
‘Portugal allowed me to breathe again and made me realise that there is a world bigger than my four walls in London.’
I applied for the Erasmus+ placement because I wanted to expand my soft skills as well as my practical care-giving experience. I saw this placement as a challenge and an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone.
My placement was at a care home for elderly people, so my tasks were mainly assisting elderly people and supporting them with tasks that they were unable to do. I also helped with serving their meals and ensuring that they were all able to participate in activities, such as seated yoga and Zumba. Through this placement, I have come to the realisation that I am very good at overcoming challenges, for example the language barriers faced with some of the people I was caring for. My biggest learning achievement was being able to get to learn the Portuguese culture and also about the people there. Another factor I would consider as an achievement would be that the old people in our care home were very happy with us -some of them were even crying when we had to leave!
I loved everything about the experience but what I loved the most was the hard work the hosts put in to ensuring that everything went well, such as planning trips to different cities for us. They really made sure that we saw the beauty of Portugal. I also loved the way our supervisors at the care home took care of us, they really made sure we didn’t lack anything. Portugal allowed me to breathe again and made me realise that there is a world bigger than my four walls in London.
Working internationally has helped me a lot. The skills I learned during my placement will help me with my future care aspirations as I now have experience of how to interact with different types of individuals, even when we language is a barrier. This will be useful if I go on to become a Paramedic as you never know the people you are going to meet at the place of accident and if they will be able to speak the same language, so I will have experience in dealing with these situations.
My next step will be going to University and either studying Paramedic Science or Adult Nursing. The advice I would give the future Erasmus+ participants would be that they should not be afraid as they will be in good hands. They will make amazing memories and get to explore the world a bit more.
Overcame language barriers in communication
Gained experience in the health and social care sector
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