A female Ugandan nurse: My four-month stay in China was life-changing

Li Jiayao
Namukhula (squatting, second from right) with her coursemates in China where they were exposed to various skills

Source: newvision.co.ug

By Justine Namukhula

When I got a call from the Ministry of Health that I had been chosen to go for a four month course at the Second Military Medical University (SMMU) in Shanghai, China, I was elated.

I left Uganda for China on April 19, 2011.

In Shanghai, I met people from over 20 different countries.

We all shared a lot about our countries and also toured Shanghai and other cities together.

The places that I visited during the four months were astounding. Through university-sponsored trips, we visited the Hangzhou caves, the Shanghai Museum and the Television Tower. We enjoyed the river/ lake cruises, the speed train and visited cities like Suzhou and Hangzhou (China’s ancient capital).

We enjoyed rides on the high-speed train, which is a key feature of China’s advancement in public transport as well as science and technology. The forest parks and water caves were a memorable sites too. Being atop the Television Tower and viewing the city from above was thrilling.

Although I had known the Chinese to be industrious, I did not know that they outgoing.

They are also hospitable, friendly, easy to approach and accommodative to foreigners.

If you smile at them on the streets or the subway, expect a smile back.

Namukhula in a practical session while in China

Language and culture

Chinese is difficult, but I could have mastered the language if had lived there for more than four months. Despite the language barrier, handshakes, gestures and saying ‘Ni-hao’ helped us get along well.

The Chinese culture is very rich and while there, I also learnt about the Chinese dragons, clothing and Kungfu.


My stay at the Second Military Medical University exposed me to different disciplines.

There were over 10 specialties or disciplinary orientations covering the full spectrum of clinical medicine, naval clinical medicine and pharmacy. The others were nursing science, anaesthesiology, medical laboratory and medical image technology. The university was well-equipped and had a very good study environment.

China’s healthcare system is good and Uganda should emulate it.

While here, I learnt a lot of nursing techniques that I am using at the hospital where I work.

The writer taking a walk with a colleague

I was exposed to modern techniques of handling complicated emergency cases.

For instance, I learnt how to use modern equipment like the patient monitors that keep the ventilation, cooler machines and oxygen concentration in control in the intensive care unit.

I have since shared hat I learnt in China with my friends and colleagues at work.

It was while in China that I came to know that the country has a visionary leadership that will propel the country to great heights.

Not only did I receive academic benefits from studying in China, but I also received life skills. I thank the

Chinese Embassy in Uganda that sponsored me on this great adventure.

I also thank the Ministry of Health for supporting me and my hospital for recommendation.

From good climate to great cultural diversity China is the best destination one would love to study and live in.

Her cities and people, China will still remain a memorable place I ever visited.

Namukhula found the Chinese hospitable and friendly

About the food

When it comes to food, I learnt that the Chinese love rice, sea food and spices. I was amazed to see frogs and snails being prepared at meal time.

Despite having all this on their menu, my appetite did not die. I ate rice, prawns and other vegetables.

Sea food is popular with Chinese

Disclaimer: This article was originally produced and published by newvision.co.ug. View the original article at newvision.co.ug.


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