Writing blogs about personal experiences and feelings is not really easy, especially if you have to share it with the world. I first started writing about all the things we did and saw, but I thought “Hmmm maybe I shouldn’t be so predictable…”

So first I am going to give a short version of all the thing we have done:

  • Saturday we were welcomed by a lecturer and his family where we had our “first” Belgium supper, and boy was it a lot! It was different meats, cheeses, crackers, chips, spreads, and of course coffee for the appetizers. It was then followed by soup and pasta and dessert. (I was so full, it felt like I was rolling out of there).
  • Sunday we had breakfast with the same family and the lecturer took us on a lovely tour through the city of Antwerp and then we were taken to a small village named Malderen, where we resided most of the time.
  • On Monday the 6th we started with what they IPSIG week, which stands for Interprofessional Collaboration in Healthcare. Here we focused on learning skills to work together as an interprofessional team, while keeping the patient, the centre of care.
  • On Saturday we went to the opening day of Karel de Grote Hogeschool and then after this we went to a city in Belgium named Gent.

So even with a shorten version of all the things we did, it can still be said that it was a full and compact week. If I had to describe my feelings throughout the project, I would say that excitement wins and the biggest bonus is all the new things we were able to learn.

I learned about different professions and what exactly it is they do and how to work alongside each profession to ensure patient centred cared. I have learned about different health approaches in different countries such as the fact that health care in Italy is 95 % hospitalisation, whereas South Africa focusses more on Primary level of care. The IPSIG program was rather intense and you had to think more out of the box than I was used to, but to me this was an excellent platform for learning and developing new skills, and also learning about my own strengths and weaknesses.  I was able to see two beautiful cities and a beautiful village, where in each has its own beauty, history and to me what felt like magic.

We were so fortunate to be accepted and welcomed into the homes of 3 families. We were received with warm hearts and open arms and for that I am truly thankful. It was also wonderful that everyone was willing to put their lives on hold for us and  show us all the wonderful tourist places and to take us to all the places where we ate wonderful food and of course to make wonderful food themselves (I think I gained 5kg in a week from all the eating).

Up to this point, it has been an enriching experience as I have learned and developed not only in my profession, but also as an individual.

Will keep you updated

Written by: Philicia Bloem

15 March 2017

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