From Canterbury to Cannula

Last spring term, before entering the nursing program, Adrianne Robinson (second- semester Nursing student) went on the London Center Study Abroad through Brigham Young University, and she loved it! From the weeks in London learning about famous people like Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth to the few days in Paris seeing the sights. The surroundings were enthralling, the fish and chips were delicious, and the professors she traveled with were excellent.

But what does “art history stuff” and Greek and Roman mythology have to do with nursing? Nothing, or so it would seem.

Adri in front of BYU’s London Center

Adri explains, “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for a while.” Her mother has a Master’s Degree in medieval history and her father is a practicing anesthesiologist. On one side of her family, English language and history are a prevalent influence while on the other, Adri was encouraged to enter the medical field.

While she considered herself a “history and English girl,” her father would still talk to her about looking into medical school. From early on, Adri found herself choosing between two different options, trying to decide which would be her life story, much like a lot of other teenagers.

Adri took various classes in high school: AP Human Geography and other various AP History and as many AP literature classes offered at her high school. She had become a “history and English gal.” However, the public school system did require her to take chemistry, which she liked and was rather good at it.

She then tried her hand at other science classes including psychology and anatomy, where she discovered that she was not just good at science but was very interested in that kind of learning. Adri does add that it was not until taking nursing prerequisite courses her first year at Brigham Young University, and her additional experience in shadowing her father, that she became confident in her ability to learn and apply science, and therefore would want to start a nursing career.

After her freshman year, Adri knew she would do nursing, but Adri also grew up knowing that she wanted to do a London Study Abroad with BYU. Adri enthusiastically calls it an “unquestionable” reality. “Most of my mom’s side of the family has done a study abroad in London,” she explains, “So it was … almost a family tradition. I’ve … always grown up hearing … about it; and [remember] really being interested.”

So, Adri upheld ‘tradition’ and went on the study abroad during the spring term. Every day started with a group lecture at the London Study Abroad Center, and then the students would split into two groups led by their professors. While one group visited a museum, the other would visit another historic site, like an art gallery, then the groups would switch. On the weekends, they would take day trips in either large groups or small ones, to enjoy what other things London had to offer, visiting places like Stourhead, Stonehenge, and Canterbury.

While there were no courses on nursing and, of the other 45 students, no other nursing students, Adri did learn a few useful things that apply to nursing.

She says:

  • “I learned so much about being more accepting of other people.”
  • “I definitely learned … that I just need to let people do their thing. It’s not necessary to always have to implement myself and what I would do.”
  • “It reaffirmed that [nursing] is what I wanted to do… I still liked it and being able to have a variety of what I was learning, but I guess I’m glad I’m not studying [English and History] permanently.”
  • “I’d say I learned a lot more about culture and respecting, and having to deal with differences sometimes when you don’t want to.”


Adri and friend at Canterbury Cathedral

For Adri, nursing is not only what she wants to do, but has become a part of who she is. From Adri other students can learn that whether you are in Canterbury or learning how to use a cannula, nursing can be a present part of a nursing student’s life, both at school and abroad. Adri is excitedly looking into future opportunities to work in London as a nurse because of both her experience here at the BYU College of Nursing and her time in London, where she grew to love the people and the culture.

A Study Abroad is not only “an easy, really fun” way to fulfill some General Education requirements, it is also an advantageous way to learn some of life’s lessons.



Published by marissabrownd17

I am a senior at Brigham Young University. I am studying English and Portuguese. I love to read and write but most of all I love to serve others. It is my goal to make someone's day, everyday.

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