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WCSU nursing program adds study-abroad component

Image of nursing trip to GreeceDANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Department of Nursing, already well-regarded for its graduates’ impressive results on the state NCLEX exam, has added a new component for students interested in pursuing nursing studies: the opportunity to study abroad.

WCSU Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. Monica Sousa and Professor of Nursing Dr. Cathy Rice led a group of 16 students on a nine-day trip this spring to Thessaloniki, Greece. While there, the students were able to observe at public and private hospitals, elderly community centers, fertility clinics and nursing schools, which led to lessons and conversations about the differences in health care and nursing education and practices between the United States and Greece.

Rice, Sousa and students were invited to present at a conference at Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki in Greece in mid-March. Sousa discussed “Nursing and Nursing Education in the United States” and Rice presented “Disaster Preparedness and Response.”  WCSU and Greek nursing students participated in a panel discussion regarding their nursing education experiences and challenges.

Sousa said, “Many nursing programs across Connecticut have established study-abroad programs within their own curriculum and I wanted to provide our nursing students the experience of a lifetime. After so much planning, the trip was more than words can describe. Our host, Professor Dimitris Theofanidis, led the group through Greek culture, traditions and history. Students were able to see what health care looks like from another country and gain a new appreciation regarding caring for patients who have backgrounds different from our own.”

Sousa said future study-abroad opportunities for student nurses are being planned for 2020 and beyond.


Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals, and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.