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Emily Fowler

Reports from Saudi Arabia

I began my professional career in the Oncology/Haematology unit in The Adelaide and Meath Hospital incorporating the National Children’s Hospital (AMNCH) in 2006, following completion of a BSc in Nursing (General Nursing) in Trinity College. During my time there, I developed a passion for oncology and so went on to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in Oncology Nursing with Trinity College and St Luke’s Hospital in 2009. After years of building on my practical knowledge and experience in oncology nursing, I decided that it was time for a new challenge and a bit of an adventure.

I moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in April 2012 to work in the hospital of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company. It was quite overwhelming when I first arrived, as I stepped into what can only be described as an alien world; women fully covered in black, language barriers, a different work place and a completely new life. Being a long way from family and friends was difficult to cope with for the first couple of weeks, but I began to feel comfortable and at home thanks to the friendliness of the staff from all over the world, who remembered how overwhelming it can be. 

Outside the workplace, the expatriate community that lives and works together in Saudi Arabia, embraces newcomers with open arms. In the two years that I have been here, I have had the chance to travel to so many places that would have otherwise been unreachable, I have made lots of new friends and taken up exciting new hobbies.

Life is certainly different here. At times it can be frustrating as, outside our compound women are not allowed to drive, are expected to be fully covered, restaurants have separate entrances for men and women, and women are not allowed to try on clothes in shops. Despite these challenges, every day is a new adventure.

I firmly believe that the experience and knowledge I gained from my training and educational grounding at Trinity and AMNCH, has stood me in good stead throughout this life changing experience. I can describe the journey as one where new information was learned, valuable training was received, eye-opening insights were gained, and perhaps most importantly, long lasting friendships were made. As my education in Trinity gave me a thirst for knowledge and a drive to advance my professional skills, I am currently undertaking a Masters in Advanced Practice in Cancer Care.

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