International students may face additional difficulties in Westminster's nursing program

A dummy sits in the place of a hospital patient in a lab room with one way glass in the Health, Wellness and Athletic Center at Westminster College. The room provides nursing students the opportunity to apply and practice what they learn in the classroom while their instructors observe. Photo by Andrew Nassetta.

A dummy sits in the place of a hospital patient in a lab room with one way glass in the Health, Wellness and Athletic Center at Westminster College. The room provides nursing students the opportunity to apply and practice what they learn in the classroom while their instructors observe. Photo by Andrew Nassetta.

Most nursing students agree their major is challenging and time-consuming—but certain aspects of the program become even more difficult for international students.

Like many students in Westminster College's nursing program, Diana Mavlanova, an international student from Turkmenistan, is busy. She works five jobs, which she said leaves limited time for a personal life when coupled with homework.

Emily Budd, a junior from Park City, is also in the nursing program and said the only free time she has is when she is sleeping. Though she said the nursing major requires a large time commitment, she said it's time well spent.

Diana Mavlanova, an international student from Turkmenistan, multi-tasks during her work shift at the Concierge Desk in Shaw Student Center. In between five jobs and the nursing program, Mavlanova said managing her time wisely can be challenging at times. Photo by Andrew Nassetta.

Diana Mavlanova, an international student from Turkmenistan, multi-tasks during her work shift at the Concierge Desk in Shaw Student Center. In between five jobs and the nursing program, Mavlanova said managing her time wisely can be challenging at times. Photo by Andrew Nassetta.

"We are all one big happy family and we are always there for each other," Budd said. "We all want to help people and give back to the community."

Mavlanova said she faces additional challenges as an international student in the nursing program that most of her peers don't have to deal with: including language barriers and work visa issues.

Mavlanova sat down with The Forum to talk about the unique challenges that come with being an international student in the nursing major. 

Q: Did you always want to be a nurse? What made you chose to go into this field?

A: Growing up, I wanted to be everything from a gymnast to a model to a physical therapist. But my mother was a doctor and it always influenced me to become part of the medical field. There are so many opportunities with a nursing degree.

Q: What's the most difficult thing about being a nursing major?

A: I think the most difficult thing about the nursing program in general, other than time management, is all the memorization that has to be done. As an international student, I find it even more difficult because it is not my first language. Memorization is one thing, but when it's not in your normal language, it's tough.

Q: What other challenges come with being an international student?

A: As an international student, I am not allowed to work on off-campus jobs in the medical field. I am a certified EMT but am not allowed to practice it anywhere. So when everyone else applies for jobs after graduation, they have real-world experience backing them up. When all I have is experience from my course work, I may not seem as professional to the employer.

Q: Do you think nursing students spend more time on schoolwork compared to other majors?

A: Definitely. My brother's major is theater arts. He doesn’t do anything at home—he just sits at his computer and plays games. And I study all the time and still don’t have time to finish all my homework.

Q: Do you have a regular job?


A: Actually, I have five jobs, I work at the concierge desk in Shaw, I teach yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am a life guard, I tutor for nursing and I work with the maintenance department.

Q: What do you want to do when you graduate?

A: I want to be a travel nurse and see all 50 states. I want to go to California because I enjoyed living in the bay area at Foothill College. I don’t like the cold and the snow. In Salt Lake, sometimes it's cold and it snows.

There is more diversity [in California], the pay is better and the opportunities are better. But as a travel nurse, I can go wherever I want and I plan to stay in America. It is tough to live here, especially with Trump, but hopefully everything works out.