Many nursing majors make the incorrect assumption that they will not be able to study abroad. It may seem like it is impossible to figure out how to take nursing courses abroad and have them count towards your degree requirements at home, but don’t stress! There is always an option to make study abroad work for you. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn about different healthcare systems and cultures abroad by worrying--we’ve got you covered with this guide on how to study nursing abroad!
There are several options of program types when studying nursing abroad. Programs range in length from just a few weeks to a full four years! Some programs are all about theory, and others focus on hands-on experience. It is important to understand what type is best for you and will allow you to complete your degree requirements at your home university.
Here are the most common nursing programs types you'll come across in your search:
Nursing programs abroad are specifically designed for nursing students and will fulfill all of the required coursework for a nursing degree. These programs are typically direct-enrollment, meaning you’ll apply directly with the university or education institution rather than through a third-party program provider. Nursing programs typically offer some sort of practical experience, like field work. They also can be much cheaper options compared to more typical study abroad programs.
Internships are a great way to gain nursing experience and knowledge while overseas. You can go abroad specifically for an internship or participate in one while doing a study abroad program at the same time. Many program providers, like CEA, offer you an option of internship programs: you can do a more focused internship program or participate in one concurrently with one of their typical study abroad programs, which provides you with extra support. This would mean you can take a regular study abroad course, perhaps fulfilling general education requirements, or nursing requirements, and between classes participate in a nursing internship in your study abroad city.
Programs for Fulfilling Core Nursing Requirements
One of the most difficult challenges nursing students will face when studying abroad is making sure their course credits transfer to their home university and actually count towards their degree.
Some study abroad programs are made with nursing students in mind. These programs can offer a range of courses that fulfill nursing degree requirements and will easily transfer to your home university. Even programs that are not specifically catered to nursing majors offer a variety of STEM courses or general education courses that will count towards your degree.
The United Kingdom
The U.K. always ranks high on lists discussing the best or the most popular study abroad destinations and it’s not hard to see why. Home to many of the world’s best universities, the United Kingdom is an amazing place to be an international student if you’re seeking a high-quality education. Many universities in England and Scotland specialize in nursing and other medical related degrees, allowing for a more focused education.
Life in the United Kingdom isn’t all about education though -- there’s also the allure of the bustling streets of London or the awe-inspiring architecture of cities like Edinburgh for international students to enjoy.
If you’re looking at a long-term stint abroad, the U.K. is also a great place to work as a nurse overseas. The NHS actively encourages nurses to come from abroad and makes it easier for them to gain employment in the U.K. If you fall in love with the country when you study abroad, you may not even have to leave!
Australia is a major travel destination due to its undeniable beauty, otherworldly landscapes, and laid-back people. But it’s also a popular destination for students to go overseas and study abroad. Australia is an excellent option for nursing students due to the abundance of world-class hospitals and healthcare infrastructure.
Like many other countries, Australia has a high demand for nurses and encourages international students to come study there in hopes of enticing them to continue life in Australia even after they study abroad. As a result, there are an abundance of scholarships offered by the Australian government for international students!
Another great option, Canada is one of the best countries in North America to study nursing. If you are from the United States it can be a low-cost option as well! Due to its close proximity to the U.S., the Great White North is much cheaper to travel to than Europe or Asia. It’s much cheaper when you're comparing tuition costs as well.
The healthcare system in Canada is also one of the best in the world, which provides international students with a unique opportunity to gain insight on a healthcare system different from their own. Canada is not only great for nursing, but it is a great place to live and experience as well. Canada is home to a diverse and welcoming people and breathtakingly dramatic natural landscapes. There’s no wonder Canada is one of the most popular destinations for international students around the world.
Nordic countries are known around the world for their efficient system of socialized healthcare and Sweden is one of the best among them. Sweden is home to IKEA and delicious meatballs, but it is also becoming one of the best places to study medicine or nursing in Europe.
There are also amazing opportunities for international students. For some applicants, education in Sweden can be completely free. Even if you are not eligible for free tuition, the cost is much lower than that of the United States. Swedish nursing programs focus on hands-on education, meaning you’ll gain valuable real-world experience while studying abroad in Sweden. Most importantly you can enjoy the beauty of Northern Europe, while receiving a top-class education is nursing abroad!
Planning Your Trip
Best Time to Study Nursing Abroad
If your institution will transfer the academic credit for your nursing courses abroad, you can study abroad any time relevant classes are offered. Sometimes studying abroad for a whole semester or year can be strenuous if you have a lot of course requirements to fulfill. However, there are many options for nursing students abroad.
It is important to know how the type and length of your study abroad experience will impact your rigorous academic schedule. Students are urged to explore their full range of options for study abroad and should begin to consider study abroad during their freshman year. Early planning allows time to investigate possibilities and plan rosters efficiently.
- While researching programs, students should consider whether or not a program offers coursework that will allow them to progress in their major requirements towards a 4-year completion of degree
- Check which semesters are most suitable to take a break from your nursing course schedule. Which semester will be determined by program requirements, the host university's requirements, and personal preference
- Summer programs are a good option for students who cannot fully commit to a semester abroad - also a great way of catching up on classes or studying abroad with a program whose courses do not necessarily fulfill any major-related requirements.
Housing for Nursing Students
The type of housing you have abroad may be dependent on the program you choose or your own personal preference. Many programs provide nursing students with a shared apartment or have options to search for their own housing. If you are unsure of your options, we have a guide that can help you better understand housing options abroad.
Study Abroad Nursing Programs
How can I study nursing abroad for free?
The easiest way to have a low-cost or even free study abroad experience is to look into direct-enrollment programs. Some countries even offer free education to foreigners! You can always apply to scholarships or grants that will help cover the cost of your study abroad program.
What’s the best way to gain nursing experience abroad?
To get practical nursing experience abroad you can always consider a hands-on internship! Many programs, like direct-enrollment programs, include field experience as part of their curriculum as well.
Can I study nursing abroad if I only speak English?
Don’t fear! Most of the popular countries for nursing abroad are from the English speaking world. Many other countries offer English language nursing programs as well!
How many years does it take to study nursing abroad?
If you want to complete a full nursing degree abroad, it will take about two to three years. However, there are study abroad programs of all lengths for nursing students. Depending on your preference, you can take a fall semester, a whole summer, or a week or two in between terms to study abroad.
Which country is best for nursing?
Many countries have excellent universities with stand-out nursing programs, but a few places that stand out, in particular, are Australia, Germany, and Singapore!
Can you study abroad for nursing?
Yes! In fact, studying abroad is a great way to get exposed to global healthcare, learn new nursing skills, and get hands-on experience that will make you stand out from other nursing students.