I wanted to study podiatric medicine as I was interested in the medical field. I chose NUI Galway as it was recommended by many Saudi students who completed their medical degree at the university.
At the start I was slightly nervous due to many different reasons. The main reason is the cultural differences between my home and Ireland. Another reason is the fact that I had a two year-old boy. A few weeks after arriving in Ireland, most of the distrusting thoughts were gone as I was supported by the college’s staff who helped me to settle in. I also managed to register my child in the university creche, which took the pressure off about ‘who will mind my kid?’.
Studying podiatric medicine at NUI Galway was a great opportunity as it allowed me to explore an important field that is not available in Saudi Arabia yet.
It also has shaped my practical skills as I was required to complete 1,000 practical hours in order to graduate. During the course, there were external placements in both private and public sectors, which allowed me to see the differences between both sectors and prepare myself for my future career.
Moreover, it gave me the chance to explore Ireland and meet with other students from different nationalities and share our experience and learn from each other.
One of the main challenges which I faced during this course is writing essays. I tried different techniques to improve my writing skills and when I discussed this matter with the college, they introduced me to the Writing Centre service. Since then, I have noticed that my writing has improved quite well. Another challenge is the workload, as I had two kids to look after during the third and fourth year of the course. By working on my time management skills, I was able to overcome this challenge too.
During this experience, I have never felt as an outsider and I was treated without discrimination of any kind. My voice was heard, and all my issues were taken seriously. I managed to make great relationships that I do not want to lose by moving home, and most importantly, I got what I came for – a degree in Podiatric Medicine.