From Finland to Tanzania

A nursing adventure

Tag Archives: Tanzania

Extensions, safaris and Zanzibar

So, my 3 months on exchange are up. Time has gone so fast, I can’t believe it.  But, I have applied to extend my stay in Dar for another month to complete perioperative practice here. I have been to the operating theatre a few times already, and I found it interesting and I wanted to learn more about how things are done here with fewer resources and technology.  The principles are of course the same, such as preparing the patient pre-operatively, ensuring aseptic and sterile conditions, administering anaesthesia drugs and caring for the patient post-operatively.

I had to do quite a lot of organizing, extending my visa, changing my flights and applying for changes to the learning agreement with the school. But, now I will continue at the same hospital and will experience my first African Christmas!


After my 3 months of practice, I arranged to go on safari. We travelled by coach to Moshi. It was a long 10 hour trip, but it was nice to see the different countryside and landscapes. We spent 4 days on safari and started from Moshi to Maasailand, Serengeti, Ngorogoro and Lake Manyara. It was pretty amazing to see so many animals and our guide was so good we got to see the big five and so much more!


Mount Kilimanjaro




Maasai village


We also took long weekend break to Zanzibar. We spent one day in Stone Town and the rest of the ime chilling on the beach at Matemwe.Zanzibar was nice, and stonetown was interesting,but be prepared to be harassed by touts and random people wanting to sell you something, be that a tshirt, a taxi or a boat trip! But,it was a well-deserved break and now I am ready to carry on with the final month of practice in the operating theatres!

Two months to go….

So, with about 2 months to go before I leave I have finally booked the flights 🙂  I still have some fees to pay with Art in Tanzania and some paper work to send them.  Most of my school documentation is ok, so now just the information about where I want to go in Tanzania, what projects I want to participate in and  make my visa application. Most of the official paperwork I have received through Art in Tanzania and send back via them.  They have been very helpful with my many (many) questions.   A three month visa costs about 50USD and you can pick it up at the airport when you arrive.

From the school side, I have now informed my teachers and international co-ordinators about this blog and about the specific dates I will be away and what I am going to do in Tanzania.  I still need to think about what things I should prepare, like work shift schedules and the information for the professional practice assignments.

I applied for a grant from the school earlier in the spring, but have heard nothing yet.  So, if you are thinking about going on exchange, don’t rely on the grant to pay your flights etc.  You might not have time!  I also applied for the Kela study grant (opintotuki) and had the decision back already, so at least I will have a little something in my bank account.

I am already looking into what free time activities I could do in Tanzania and also what practical training places might be good for me.  One of the medical placement directors has recommended I spend most of my time in Dar es Salaam as there is a shortage of health workers there.  They also have an HIV/AIDS awareness programme there which would be an interesting project to participate in.

People keep asking me if I am nervous or scared to leave.  Well, yes.  A little.  I suppose it’s the  furthest I will have ever travelled by myself.  I have been in Finland so long that it feels like home and to think of going to a new place and trying to be a nurse on a different continent in a different culture is quite daunting…….

…….But I can’t wait! 😀

Progress so far…

So, with less than three months before I leave to Tanzania, the real work has started.  I was officially accepted to the Art in Tanzania Project to do a medical internship, which includes my 3 months of practice.  I’m so excited already!

I visited the doctor to get my vaccinations, which included hepatitis, yellow fever, meningitis, typhoid and an optional one that I will get for cholera seeing as I will be working in hospitals.  Also, I got my malaria prescription for Larium.  The doctor usually recommends a 2 week trial for this as there are potentially bad side effects.  So I will try these in the summer before I leave.  The vaccinations and malaria medications are quite expensive, so anyone thinking of going to Tanzania should include that in a budget plan and remember to take your vaccination card with you!



Next step: Book flights!