Suzanne Ewing – Psychology – Level 2

Venice, Italy

I have never been outside the UK before so being chosen for the trip to Venice caused a lot of emotions and questions, I was worried about how I would be on the plane and if I was doing the right thing leaving my children for a week (I have never been away that long or that far) there was also the fact that I was going to be with people I did not know very well, so embarking on this trip my personal plan was to try and learn something academically and see as much of Venice as I could and not be concerned if I didn’t get on with anyone, Venice was one of my Bucket List places and I was going to thoroughly try and enjoy this trip without worrying about home to much, only what if the city turned out to be a better fantasy than reality??  So, I was back to worry and apprehension, it might not be worth leaving the boys (children) behind, I would have a much better time if they had been going too!!!

Meeting up with everyone at Edinburgh airport relieved some stress, not everyone knew each other so most people were in a similar situation to me, everyone seemed harmless enough and the lady I ended up sharing a room with I had seen at University, she was in my year but on a different course, she was quiet and nice so at least I wasn’t going to get hacked up in my sleep. I had spoken to another couple of the students over the year so I realised I would actually manage to socialise a little while we were all away and I always had Clare (Lecturer) I knew her better than the other lecturers and Laura and she kinda had a duty to talk to me occasionally during the trip, so it was all good.

The reality of the trip was not what I expected, from the moment the plane engine started I was just very excited, my first proper plane journey and I had a window seat!  My photo taking started almost immediately and didn’t cease until we headed for the airport on the Friday morning.  Venice was beautiful, every structure felt like it had a story going back centuries, every time I waked down a close I felt like I should shout ‘gardyloo’ as it reminded me of historical pictures of Scotland, to me it was like someone had pressed pause on the structures in the 1800s but had allowed humans to modernise, it was just and amazing mix and contrast.

The academic side was about social and health care, how it is dealt with in both Italy and Scotland.  As a group we discussed the similarities and differences of how both issues are dealt with and if either country has got it right?  It made me appreciate how social care is handled in the UK as Italy has no main framework, therefore more people will maybe fall victim to poor social care or have to leave their family in order to receive the type of care they need, as a group we were lucky to visit a region with high social care values, for me it has opened a door of  questions about the lesser regions, I now have a desire to visit different parts of Italy with poorer social care in order to understand the differences in quality of life, more importantly on returning home and discussing my trip with my children also show a desire to do this.

Visiting San Servolo was also very humbling, it made me grateful to live in a time where having mental health issues is not hidden or treated using torturous methods any longer, but I also see how these events needed to happen in order for us to progress, without scientists searching for reason or brain-waving possible cures as a society we wouldn’t be where we are now, obviously there is no magical cure but at least we are more humane and accepting of such issues.  San Servolo was the first mental health hospital in Italy, it was previously a monastery so again beautiful in structure, and was only for the rich, we discovered females initially were kept on a separate island and poor people were kept on ships with criminals, we didn’t visit San Clemente (the female Asylum) as it now houses a luxury 5* Hotel and Spa, but I am intrigued to discover what the island looks like and if there is any trace of the original asylum as it is such a main part of Venice’s history.

However, the biggest shock to me on this trip was the friends I made, I never wandered around Italy on my own instead I had an amazing time with a group of people who all wanted to make the most of this experience, we visited the neighbouring islands, watched glass ornaments being made and stood on the roof of the Basilica in Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) when a thunder storm started!  It was amazing! Not just the event but the people I shared it with, making friends with people I would never have encountered at Uni otherwise and gaining a better bond with the people I already knew a little.  I think the main things I learnt on this trip was outside the lecture halls, being responsibility free and just being one of a group was new for me and it allowed me to be more aware of others and see how this trip changed their views of their life, I returned home with tired, but with a larger friend base who I know I can turn to when I find level 3 overwhelming.

We were lucky to have been chosen by lecturers that cared about us, and what the experience meant.  On a subjective level I feel more confident, family members who have visited Venice only know the tourist side, I attended Uni and understood what the lecturers were teaching!!  I can discuss how the health and social care systems differ from each other in Italy and how it contrasts to the UK .  More importantly it has given me a desire to travel and to make sure my boys get to travel as well, the only way to truly understand cultural and social differences is to experience them first-hand.

Related Blog Posts

Transport themed pattern
QMU Annual Travel Survey

Every year the university conducts a travel survey, collecting commuting habits of staff and stud... read more

A group of young people engaged in dialogue in a classroom setting.
Critical dialogue - developing confidence in young people

Critical dialogue is helping young Scots and Malawians develop confidence and gain empowerment.... read more

A small group of people talking, facing away from the camera, on a sunny day outside
Making for good

Making for good We are Amy Millar and Amy McCue - more commonly known on our course as “The Amy’s... read more

A small group of people talking, facing away from the camera, on a sunny day outside
A dyslexic student's advice for making a successful time of studies at QMU

“How to make the most of your studies?” is a question that is often asked. What are the best tech... read more

3 girls in winter jackets outside the Queen Margaret University Campus, Edinburgh
Top tips for open day

Prepare before you get to the University. Consider attending an open day event to find out what i... read more

Students queuing up to order at Maggie's Bar, the QMU student union bar and cafe
Freshers blog

My first day at QMU was a scary one, as I’m sure it was for everyone. Having only just moved from... read more

A busy street
Life as a mature student: why go to university?

For me higher education is about working towards achieving your potential to catapult you into th... read more

Students talking on the benches outside Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Queen Margaret university fresher’s week: 10 tips for student life

Top 10 Tips for student life read more

A small group of people talking, facing away from the camera, on a sunny day outside
University as a mature student

From where I started my academic journey, like many things in life, I have arrived at a very diff... read more

Three QMU students on the sofa in their accommodation watching tv
Student budget

Life in general is a bit tricky on a student budget. Believe me, I know. I’ve been there. Once th... read more