Cape Breton University Nursing students are heading to Argentina on the volunteer trip of a lifetime. On Friday, February 15, 28 Nursing students and four of their instructors will fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina for the annual International Nursing Experience. Graduating students and public relations coordinators for the trip, Amanda Sawler and Mikayla Ayre, couldn’t be more excited. They will soon be entering the workforce and look forward to ending their educational journeys on international soil. Neither Amanda nor Mikayla grew up thinking they would become nurses. Amanda planned for a future in architecture or accounting, while Mikayla was drawn to the idea of becoming a field ecologist. In a twist of fate, each of them found their way to nursing and now say they couldn’t imagine it any other way. “There are so many opportunities within the field of nursing,” says Amanda. “I’m so thankful my Mom encouraged me to explore my interest in Nursing and apply to CBU. The Nursing program here is second to none.” Mikayla, who is in the advanced standing accelerated program, completed her Nursing degree in two years, after having finished a three-year Bachelor of Science program at CBU. When she realized nursing wasn’t just about the gore and glory shown on television, she says choosing CBU was a no brainer. “We have one of the highest NCLEX pass rates in the country,” says Mikayla. “Our program is hands-on with lots of hospital practice and super supportive instructors. What more could you want?” Both Amanda and Mikayla heard about the International Nursing Experience early on in their time at CBU. Their excitement grew as they watched upper-year Nursing students attend the trip each year, hearing about their experiences via blogs and social media channels. Finally it was their turn to sign up for the trip, and the organizing and fundraising began. The students got to work organizing ticket sales, car washes, bake sales, gift-wrapping and more to fund their trip, with their largest fundraiser being an auction that raised over $15,000. “Our fundraising efforts wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our instructors, fellow students and members of the community,” says Amanda. “So we’d like to thank everyone who helped us along the way.” During their time in Argentina, the International Nursing Experience attendees will spend their time volunteering at a children’s and women’s hospital, lending their hands at a cancer care and research centre and working in the community with at-risk youth. Although they are not licensed to practice out of the country, the students will assist in a patient-supportive role, observing the local professionals and learning new techniques and practices. What Mikayla is looking forward to most is the opportunity to gain a better understanding of other cultures and their healthcare systems first-hand. “It’s very important to take advantage of experiential learning. That’s what our program is all about,” says Mikayla. “The theory you learn in class ‘clicks’ when you see it in person. As a learner, that’s incredible.” Following the two-week trip, Amanda, Mikayla and their classmates will enter the field of nursing with hands-on skills, cultural awareness and the confidence to become talented and trusted professionals. We can’t wait to hear about their experiences and follow along with their travel blog!