Studying in Europe for five years is every Australian’s dream. I was that lucky student who got that opportunity, to not only explore a new country, but to pursue my dream career in medicine.
After three years at NUI Galway, a question I still get asked by patients, peers and professors is – why Ireland?
Trading Bondi Beach for Salthill was one of the best decisions of my life. As a naive 20-year-old, saying goodbye to my old life in Sydney and moving to a country with no knowledge of the local slang, food, or lifestyle, it is safe to say I was pleasantly surprised.
I had completed a partial undergraduate degree at home and was familiar with the university life, or so I thought. Galway’s reputation of a student town really outdid itself, from the great variety of events held by societies, particularly MedSoc to the proximity of recreational facilities on campus. There was always an opportunity to build on my life experiences and balance the challenges of medical school.
The structure of the initial two years of the undergraduate degree had many group-based learning projects, something I would come to appreciate greatly as it became a less intimidating way of meeting my fellow classmates.
The passion of our pre-clinical and clinical tutors was fundamental in my learning, consequently making each specialty extremely enticing. Additionally, the opportunity to experience the hospital system in Letterkenny, Donegal at one of the four medical academies was invaluable and allowed for greater one on one teaching.
As an international class representative for my year, I worked closely with the School of Medicine during this time. They supported us at every step, ensuring our academic learning was not sacrificed whilst allowing us to be surrounded by loved ones, a privilege other international medical students around the world did not receive.
To this date, I am not sure if it was the fact that I was more than 17,000km away from my loved ones or just the luck of first year experiences, but I found a home in Galway.
This journey at NUI Galway has allowed me to meet individuals from all around the world and call them family, for that I am thankful.