April 7, 2017, by studentcontributor
Life as an international student
Accents, bad stereotypes and a culture shock; the typical ABCs of being an international student. Coming from Singapore, a tremendously westernized country, I did not believe I would struggle with any of these when I moved here to study medicine. That’s where I was wrong.
Life is so different here from back home in Asia, especially because not many here are stuck in that lifelong horse race for success. Strangely enough, the one thing that I was sure I would miss being so far from home, food, I found easy to access, between cooking it myself, and finding wonderful takeaways that did the job.
The rigour of junior college in Singapore involved school starting at 7 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m., with extra classes, sports and leadership activities thrown in. An easy life of just lectures was too appealing, nearly lulling me into a sense of laziness. Yet there is so much to do in terms of societies to become a part of and places to visit within the country.
Medical school itself is undeniably exciting. The ability to cut up cadavers, which most peers neither in this country, nor back home experience, fills me with a sense of pride and awe. It is a fantastic way to learn and keeps you on your feet.
Meeting patient after patient whom you struggle to understand because they speak a different language or dialect becomes a non-issue. Bilingualism, something so innate and well, normal for me, became a quality I could show off, a skill.
Application to medical school
The application process remains the same, with having to take the UKCAT and make it through the dreaded interviews. I was “blessed” to have all my interviews close to home, in Malaysia, but then lost out on the opportunity to actually visit all the medical schools I had applied to and see their campuses. When I visit friends in other universities now, I realise how important that actually was, because personally I love the big open spaces of Nottingham, and would have hated to live in full brick city campuses.
Choosing where to apply to study medicine
In all honesty, the biggest tip I was given when applying to medicine in the UK was to not base it on rankings but on teaching style, city location and city life.
Contributor: Siddhee Pradhan, 2nd Year medical student
(WAMS Committee 2017)
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