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From Brazil to Daytona Beach: Bianca’s journey

The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic was a time for reflection for many. For OET alumni Bianca, it was a pivotal moment in realising she wanted to pursue her dream to work as a nurse overseas. She’s now in the final stages of preparing to move from Brazil to the US. Here’s her story.

A career to care

Like so many in her field, Bianca’s interest in healthcare stems from a desire to help people.

“I started thinking about becoming a nurse when I was a teenager because I needed to take care of my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease,” she said. “I followed the progress of her illness and her dependence on daily activity and realised looking after unwell people required a lot of knowledge and responsibility.”

Bianca’s relationship with her grandmother over this time had a big impact on her. “I understood how important it is to have someone caring for the vulnerable. I studied to become a nurse to take care of people, mainly elderly people.”

When asked the best part of being a nurse, she looks back on eight years working professionally: “Having contact with people and having the opportunity for a bond with each patient and their families and feeling trusted. It’s a great responsibility.”

Taking a global leap

“After the pandemic I found myself without plans for the future and my career,” said Bianca. “I just felt like I needed a change.”

After confiding in a close friend who was also a nurse and experiencing the same feelings, Bianca and her colleague found they had a shared dream – to be a nurse in another country.

Before deciding where to begin this new journey, Bianca realised she needed to drastically improve her English. She made a commitment to herself so she could realise her dream: study English for a year before preparing for any required tests.

Her time studying built confidence and helped her decide on Florida as her target destination, so she started to learn about the tests required for nurses there.

Discovering the power of OET

Bianca initially began preparing to take the IELTS test, but soon realised it was going to require more work and wasn’t as relevant to her as a healthcare worker.

“It didn’t make sense studying for IELTS,” she said. “I was having to learn vocabulary for scenarios that I would never use in my future. I also knew I’d have to study for NCLEX, which is only about healthcare.”

Through preparing for nursing registration test NCLEX, Bianca heard about OET and decided to switch after recognising how the test could help her.

Choosing to study for a test that focused on healthcare settings made more sense for me because the knowledge wouldn’t be lost in my future,” she said. “I knew I would use it every day with my patients and with my colleagues.

As a full-time nurse, Bianca had to find time study for OET after work. Despite this big commitment, the similarities between the themes and topics of OET and other nursing tests like NCLEX helped motivate her preparation.

Success on the test

After four months of test preparation, Bianca felt ready and booked her test on paper in Brazil for May 2023.

“I was the most nervous about the Speaking sub-test,” she said. “But when I completed it, I felt a sense of peace and it gave me the confidence to continue with the remainder of the test.”

Two weeks later, Bianca woke up to find her test results email in her inbox. But she was so nervous, she asked her husband to read it first. She got the score she wanted, first time. “It was a mixed response of gratitude and accomplishment.”

Knowledge for life

Bianca is now in the final stages of preparing to move to Daytona Beach in Florida. She received her official job offer to work at a nursing home the day after passing OET as the offer was pending her results on the English test.

She’s excited to begin a new life in the US, and she knows the hard work to study for OET will be used in her new workplace. “I’m very grateful for all the knowledge I got from the test,” she said. “In addition to linguistic knowledge, I was also able to obtain practical knowledge that would help me in my new country.”

In my opinion OET is the right test for those who want to enter another country as a health professional and who care about providing good care with clear communication.

Her final piece of advice? “Keep studying and preparing and do your best, because it’s possible to change your life.”