Cardiff Medical School

Medefine – Cardiff Medical School
Timothy Woo, David Li

Being an international student studying medicine in the UK represents a challenge that is more than simply tackling the difficult and large expanse of material covered at medical school; rather, it encompasses a diverse range of other challenges ranging from settling into a brand new environment and adapting to an unfamiliar culture (as is the case for those who have moved directly from their home country), meeting and making new friends of differing backgrounds, and most crucially, in most incidences having to support themselves and their wellbeing whilst being stationed thousands of miles away from their homes and families. Although I do not classify as an international student, I do nonetheless harbour past experience of having to relocate from Hong Kong to the UK at a young age for secondary school, and this has allowed me to put into perspective the experiences of those internationals studying at Cardiff Medical School right now.

Studying at Cardiff is a very stimulating experience, where students learn through small groups investigating a series of clinical cases, and in each one, integrating physiological, anatomical, psycho-social, and pharmacological teachings all together. As such, students learn through collective discussions and supporting lectures and workshops. Having spoken to international students, some do feel that at times it may be comparatively difficult to be as engaged and pipe up in group discussions as they might have wanted to, and this may in part be due to their personality, but also perhaps to a certain degree their cultural etiquette, especially given that the majority hail from East Asia countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, where it is not uncommon for students to study in a less interactive manner in comparison to their UK-based peers. In addition, it is there is a tendency for international students to aggregate in a block in lecture halls, although many international students nevertheless have successfully made many local companions in the process. Indeed, this author has observed that in fact many locally-based ethnic students (known colloquially as BBC’s – British-born Chinese) have made an excellent effort in bridging the gap between local and international students, making them feel even more at home, and aiding in their settling in. The majority have reflected very positively on their experiences of first year medical school at Cardiff, and indeed I myself have been involved often in their numerous memorable social gatherings outside of class. Moreover, academically, many internationals are coping and performing exceptionally well. There is a very strong sense of unity and cohesion within the international cohort, and they are highly supportive of each other, in particular sharing information and learning resources through social media, of which we have set up Facebook and WhatsApp platforms to do so.

My colleague, however, hails from China, and is considered an international student, despite the fact that he had studied secondary school in the UK previously. At Cardiff, he has very much been involved in a vast amount of activities from being on the committee of the surgical society, to presenting posters at conferences, and to competing for the healthcare basketball team, and is a very prominent member of the year group. Thus, he is an excellent example of the variety of activities that international students here at Cardiff get up to beyond the classroom, and is a fair reflection of the admirable efforts of international students to make the most of the opportunities available to them. Meanwhile, other examples include one student becoming a committee member of the emergency medicine society, another being involved heavily with a global leadership programme known as AISEC, and most prominently, a group of international students (in collaboration with international dental and psychology students at Cardiff) forming from scratch a music band – “Stage Up” – that has performed to patients at our hospital. It has received overwhelmingly positive feedback in the process, and has been recognised for its work by the Dean of the Medical School.

Overall, Cardiff is a fantastic city to study and live in; it is very student friendly, with a wide range of activities available from nights out to outings at the Brecon Beacons. Cardiff Medical School offers a very safe and stimulating learning environment, adopting a case-based teaching system that centres around a spiral curriculum. There is excellent early exposure to clinical and communication practices; in addition, beyond lectures are a host of academic-related societies that one may be involved with, for instance paediatrics, emergency medicine, and surgical societies. The authors believe that through being together with the international students and working with the medical school, as well as with Medefine, we can effectively bring about positive changes to further enhance not only the academic, but also the living experience of these students in Cardiff, and indeed in the UK.

Aberdeen Medical School

Medefine – Aberdeen Medical School
Sarah Mow

After taking a gap year in 2014, I knew that I really wanted to study medicine and become a doctor. Getting the chance to fulfil that in Aberdeen is such a privilege. The emphasis on and early exposure to clinical skills even in year 1 is in line with why I wanted to do medicine in the first place – because it would give me practical, tangible skills to do good.

Besides exceptional clinical teaching and exposure, the remote and rural medicine component in year 4 was something that I found attractive about Aberdeen’s course. It offers a chance to see medicine practiced in the remote areas of Scotland, a very different setting from the more common big and modern hospital systems. Also, the medical humanities block in year 3 provides a chance to revisit subjects that I was interested in when in school. Finally, the hospital compound in Aberdeen is huge – the biggest in Europe! Imagine the convenience of having a whole spectrum of medical specialities within 10 minutes of the medical school (and quite possibly your apartment). It is also a definite plus point for ‘my-med- school-is better-than- your-med- school’ debates!

Despite the exciting course in Aberdeen, I admit that it was difficult to move out of my comfort zone and adjust to the new environment. Coming from hot and humid Singapore, I remember feeling miserable walking in Scotland’s dreary weather. The culture and people were very different, and I was definitely homesick. Over time though, these differences are actually what I have come to love about the place. The slower and more laid-back pace of life is refreshing, the cold air invigorating and of course, the freedom of independence most liberating! I come from a big family of six and often missed their noise and company, which is why I was so thankful for my flatmates whose friendship made our little flat feel more like home. The bonding and cultural exchange over food in our kitchen brings back great memories – whether it was watching them cry over my ‘spicy’ curry, eating helping after helping of Danish rice pudding or discovering what makes a quintessential American breakfast. Being an international student is not easy, but it is comforting to know there are others in the same boat. Moreover, the opportunity to meet diverse people and experience new cultures is invaluable and worth cherishing.

This first year in Aberdeen has involved a lot of growing up and learning about myself and the world around me. Many friends in other medical schools have shared that the rigour and stress of medical school makes them forget why they started it in the first place. It may be early to say, but I am happy to report that so far, studying in Aberdeen has reinforced my motivations and more than ever am I sure that this is the right course of study for me.

Birmingham Medical School

Medefine – Birmingham Medical School
by Omowumi Folaranmi

Birmingham Medical School hosts one of the largest cohorts of medical students, and hence a very diverse group, with the opportunity to meet people from varying backgrounds and cultures making the university experience all the more interesting.

Birmingham has an unfair reputation of being quite unconventional; but this is what makes it unique. It is an exciting combination of modern commerciality, but with the oasis-like calm and tradition of the campus at Selly Oak. It’s not too quiet, but also not as quite as hectic or expensive as other large cities.

The medical course is particularly engaging, with a strong focus on academics. I especially like the systems based course structure which integrates the biochemistry, anatomy, histology, pharmacology, pathology and other aspects of each system into modules. This allows the student to better appreciate each system and their peculiar functionalities. The course is supplemented by clinical cases at GP surgeries which provide very useful clinical background to the biological science theory. As provide are opportunities to develop clinical skills and observe GP consultations, as well as carry out interviews. All this helps students gain a perspective of illness and its effects from the patients’ experience and perspectives. The cases also provide useful clinical context that matches the biological sciences studied concurrently.

As far as I am fascinated with the sciences, I am also concerned about helping other people. As such, I benefit from how dynamic the medical profession is. There is freedom to explore several other things that interest me such as teaching, research – even besides the immensely rewarding aspect of being able to better people’s lives. I am particularly interested in public healthcare. I believe that making medicine and medical education more accessible is essential because it incites a multiplier effect wherein the collective health of entire communities is improved. I feel that it is vital to propagate medical knowledge, so that everyone can benefit from it.

Medefine is one such platform aiming to achieve this goal, and it has served as an inspiration for me and doubtless several other students. Getting into medical school is notoriously difficult. This is especially (and quite unnecessarily) so for international students unfamiliar with the process and with foreign systems. Without the right guidance, many miss out on the great opportunity of studying medicine. This is why I am so privileged to be a part of Medefine, one, among other programs, that works to mitigate this alienation – work I think is essential and laudable.

There is a lot of support available for international students to help with settling into university life and living in the UK. There is also an event during Welcome week at the beginning of the first semester where you have the opportunity to meet other international students, both new and returning who usually have great advice and stories to share.

Getting into medical school (especially after the purgatory that the applications process can be) is scary as well as exciting. The transition from pre-undergraduate learning to a university environment can be overwhelming, but there’s always lot of help available – all that is needed is asking.

Nottingham Medical School

Medefine – Nottingham Medical School
Fady Anis – Third year medical student

Originally from Egypt, having lived the majority of my life in Dubai, I found moving to the UK and settling into university a very smooth process which was partly due to the assistance provided to me during international week. Initially wanting to go to a city-based university, I found myself pleasantly surprised at how much I suited the campus life like that in the University of Nottingham. Some quick facts about Nottingham’s medical course that makes it stand out from other similar courses in the UK:

  1. You get two degrees in 5 years (BMedSci and BMBS) – the additional degree can add an extra 3 points to the FPAS application (foundation doctor application).
  2. University of Nottingham is one of few universities that offers dissection when teaching anatomy (believe me, it makes life a lot easier!)
  3. There are many early opportunities to expose students to research and get a publication (which is an additional point on the FPAS application).
As all other universities, Nottingham has a specific quota of international students – approx. 13 students from a Thai medical school as part of a three-year program and another 12 students (Total of 25 international students). As an international student at Nottingham, I feel that you get the best of both worlds, not only do you have the support of the other international students and the International students center which organizes trips on a monthly basis, but also you also have a plethora of student union led societies and sports teams to keep you always busy. The medical course at Nottingham is a little more condensed because of the second BMedSci degree which sometimes can be overwhelming however due to the many student- led societies such as MedSoc Teaching and SCRUBS you can rest assured that there will always be someone to talk through things if you are struggling. Overall once you are on the course, as an international student you are treated the same as any other student. As a medical student you have to have the discipline to know when its time to study and when its time to have fun – nobody will force you to do either. Finally, university is a different type of learning environment, the success achieved in your course is dependent to how hard you work and the passion you have for the subject and so some personal advice is to throw yourself at all opportunities that come your way – they will always act as a step forward to enhance your CV and will often lead to bigger and better prospects.

Imperial College London

Imperial College London – A student perspective
Wassem Hasan

Whether it was the thrill of suturing, the excitement of intubating, the fascination of analysing articles, or the humility felt listening to Dr Michael Rawling speak of his professional challenges – the experiences gained through attending various conferences left a mark on me. Each one provided a chance to learn a new skill. Each one brought a reality closer: I was going to be a doctor.

Studying medicine was not a decision I had made early on. I had an interest in science and how things worked that grew into a desire to understand the body. Wanting to help people directly using my knowledge, I was slowly drawn to medicine.

Initially, I was unsure which university to go to; living overseas meant that I missed open days and lacked any geographical ties. Wanting my course to thoroughly cover the underlying mechanics of the body lead me to narrow down my choices based on teaching ratios, ranking, reputation and research output. Imperial College London stood out in 3 ways:

  1. Course content with a strong biochemical focus.
  2. Among the few medical schools that had full body dissections.
  3. An integrated BSc year.
These were also the components that made the university unique. Two elements that distinguished the medical course at Imperial College London were the people and the approach to medicine. Through lectures, labs and abundant opportunities to get involved in real research, I felt encouraged by the university to aspire to contribute as a clinician locally and as a scientist globally. The relevance of sociology and psychology in healthcare was highlighted through coursework that required drawing parallels between my regular visits to a patient and the theories I learnt in lectures. The wide spectrum of material also meant that lecturers included doctors, surgeons, NGO workers, psychologists and patients themselves! Amazingly, most of them readily answered any questions after their presentations and in emails weeks after they had been held.

Moving to a new country to start university was at times difficult. As a student from abroad, Imperial College London’s international student support office can provide you with assistance. Attending their international student orienteering weekend provided information that was tailored to me and allowed me get comfortable with the city. London is expensive and very busy but you are spoilt for choice due to the city’s size, with public transportation able to get you almost anywhere.

International students are embraced at the university and I found that when I was not treated like everyone else, it was because people were celebrating my culture. With over 340 societies it was easy to find others who shared my interests and whenever I longed to meet people of similar background, I went to the German society events.

Imperial College London challenged me to grow as an academic and a person, with the city enabling me to explore new places and cultures. I await the forthcoming years with restlessness, eager to further immerse myself in both this wonderful capital and its university.

Manchester Medical School

Medefine – Manchester Medical School 
Jia Cheng Chong

Manchester Medical School engages in Problem-Based Learning. That is, most of the learning is done by ourselves. Lectures are still provided, but are not as frequent or as comprehensive as one might like. A case study is given by the start of the week, displaying symptoms of a particular disease and names of drugs prescribed, and we discuss in a group on what we should learn about. At the end of the week, we discuss again what we have learnt, to fill in gaps of our individual learning so that we come out having learnt the whole. This unique system sometimes mean that we do not know how much to study, although intended learning outcomes are still provided by the university. Otherwise, instead of grueling study hours from 9 to 5 being filled with lectures, we have instead free time to study as much as we want.

Manchester Medical School also pioneered in Personal and Professional Development (PPD). From Year One we had to learn how to write reflectively on our experiences and to build a regular habit on maintaining a healthy portfolio. Usually medical schools start this programme by final years, but as an effort to encourage this habit, we start quite early.

I chose the University of Manchester in my UCAS selection mainly because I had this impression of Manchester being ‘the second London’. In other words, metropolitan and urban without the high-rise prices of a cutthroat financial hubbub. Cultural, urbane and diverse, are the words that popped out in my head when I see the words ‘Manchester’, and this impression did not fail me. Besides, University of Manchester fared quite well in the university league tables. Then, I picked University of Manchester as my firm choice because it was the only university that gave me a conditional offer to study medicine. It was the highlight of my day when I received that email.

It was a difficult choice to pick between Medicine and Law. On one hand, Medicine represents the ultimate act of noble service, always helping the needy, equipped with knowledge gleaned from the rational Science. On the other, Law rallies for fairness, defending the helpless and be the stalwart knight under the banner of Justice. Both these aspects appeal to me equally, and finally I thought that the best way to serve with all the knowledge that I have is to undertake the path to Medicine. And there I was.

University of Manchester is a place that celebrates diversity, equality and has the largest student union in the UK. It is very easy to find people of your own nationality, and for those wishing to be network further, it is also very easy to meet new and interesting people. All sorts of clubs and societies are present in the university, and the location of the university also makes it easy to access various places. Its geographical location makes it easy to travel to different parts of the UK, which is very convenient for travelers.

Bristol Medical School

Medefine – University of Bristol
Kiyara Fernando – 1st Year Medicine, University of Bristol
25th April 2016

If there were one word to describe Bristol, it would be “supportive”. The Sunday Times named Bristol “Britain’s best city to live in” and I can definitely vouch for that! The street art, independent shops, theatre, outdoor activities, festivals, music; it is a city with character and culture, with diverse people. Bristol is very relaxed and over the last few months, has started to feel like home. Whether you’re comfortable in the heart of a bustling city or prefer the serenity of the countryside, the University of Bristol’s accommodation caters to all preferences and I can guarantee that whatever niche you fit into, there is a place for you in Bristol.

To list out all the reasons why I fell in love with Bristol would be overwhelming, but a few of the top things that drew me to this vibrant city are as follows.

The University of Bristol has one of the best teaching faculties in the UK, with a teaching method that encourages self-directed learning but with an accomplished teaching staff helping you along the way. The teaching style suited me perfectly, with a blend of lectures, practicals, case-based discussions and in the future, assisting doctors and other healthcare professionals in their roles in the clinical setting. The medical course at Bristol trains you to be a doctor from day one, with patient contact starting in the first year with GP placements and clinical training in Bristol and surrounding areas in following years. The transport network in Bristol makes travelling within the city and to neighboring areas easy. I run for relaxation and since Bath is only 10 minutes away by train, I was able to run the half marathon in aid of Breast Cancer.

Bristol encourages its students to develop into global citizens, with internship opportunities ranging from final year electives in Angiers, France and volunteering in first year to help build water tanks in Uganda with the Bristol Volunteers for Development Abroad society.

The degree emphasises early involvement with patients and focuses on developing clinical skills. During each year the percentage of lectures, independent study and placements vary.

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
Time in lectures & seminars36% 25%15%30%9%
Time in independent study62% 65%29%26%2%
Time on placement2% 10%56%44%89%
Source; Unistats UK

Bristol also offers a 6-year intercalated degree that would provide an additional BSc qualification alongside the MBBS degree. Students are given the option to research and explore their interests in fields like medical ethics, biochemistry and several other options for a year. An intercalated degree at Bristol broadens your horizons and provides an additional qualification in a specific area external to the medical course syllabus.

The first year at University can be a trying time for anyone, but as an international student so far away from home it can be especially difficult. The University of Bristol understands that international students need extra support. There is an international medical students’ society where people from different countries meet and support each other. Older students who have experienced the hardships of living away from home act as mentors and help us along the way. The support does not end here – with a medic family system in place at Bristol each medical student is given two medic parents who take care of you during your time at university. The medic parents are usually 2 nd year students and you’re often given a medic sibling who is in the same year as you, so that you can go through any difficulties that you may face together… like a family would! Students can opt for a peer mentor, typically an older student in the 2nd or 3rd year who helps with any academic guidance you may need and can advise you on surviving your first year!

The weightage of written exams, coursework and practical exams varies each year.

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5
Written exams100%100%58%57%21%
Practical exams0%0%42%17%58%
Sources; Unistats UK

A cardinal aspect of life as a Bristol medic is the easy accessibility to academics and academic resources. Our lectures are recorded online and can be re-watched at any time. Our lecturers are medical pioneers who are leaders in their fields – top clinicians and researchers who are open to discussions and questions, being taught by them is a privilege. Each student is assigned an academic mentor who is a clinician in Bristol or in a neighboring area, they give advice and guide you for the duration of the course to help you make decisions beneficial to your career. Bristol has a state of the art anatomy facilities including cadaveric prosections and we have access to it from year 1.

With regards to extracurricular activities, Bristol is teeming with student life. There are over 300 student societies for sport, dance, language, faith, politics, business, culture and cuisine. The student union says that if there is a society that you think would benefit student life, it can always be introduced if it gathers enough interest. (If you were thinking of a Quidditch society, there already is one!) There are also opportunities for part-time work in Bristol. As an international student on a Tier 4 visa, I am currently permitted to work 20 hours a week according to government regulation and I have used that opportunity to tutor Biology and Chemistry to GCSE students in my spare time. Galenicals is the medical society here at Bristol and it even has its own sports teams, choir and theatre company. The medical societies are ideal forums for medical students from different years to interact with each other and share a common interest. I enjoyed playing netball for the medics’ netball team and being first year representative for Bristol Society of Medical Education and Research. It allowed me to mix with my peers and seniors a lot better. I played a role in the medics drama this year – engaging in theatre, which I have always loved, made me feel very much at ease and built friendships with my medic peers. Being an international student was never a problem for me, and I’m sure it won’t be an issue for you either – all students are given equal opportunity and are treated fairly.

Bristol is nothing if not diverse, and as an international student I found it very stimulating meeting students of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds and being able to interact and learn from each other’s experiences. The friends I have made at university have different lifestyles and different goals but we support and respect each other to the best of our ability.

With outstanding medical teaching, a wide range of extracurricular activities and a focus on supporting each other, coming to Bristol was the best decision I made. I hope you enjoy your time at Bristol as much as I am enjoying mine.

Leicester Medical School

Medefine – Leicester Medical School
Akash Mavilakandy

My name is Akash and I am an Indian International student from the University of Leicester. I am currently in third year and thoroughly enjoying the medical course. However, my interest in pursuing medicine developed rather later than most. I feel a big reason behind this was that I did not have a clear idea of what it was like to be a doctor. I knew that the profession was based on the fundamental purpose of helping and caring for people. I appreciated this noble and admirable cause, but was also conscious of other occupations which could also fulfil that role.

To get a realistic idea of what medicine would be like, I spent a summer working in a local hospital in India. It was from this invaluable work experience that I got to see how important a doctor’s role is to society. It made me aware of how much commitment, hard work and sincerity this profession demands. My summer stint at the hospital heralded my motivation to seek a career in medicine. While it may seem like my interest developed rather late, I firmly believe that if the interest is grounded in practical experience rather than lofty notions of what the discipline may constitute, this may prove more fruitful. Sometimes realisation takes time and a later age allows you to maturely contemplate and decide what you want to do.

Once I made the decision to try to pursue a career in medicine, the next step was to decide where to apply. This was not an easy decision to make as, unlike local fees, International applicant fees vary considerably between Universities. As the decision to attend medical school is already a significant financial investment, it is important to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and find the right balance between quality and affordability. It was while I was researching and assessing each University’s A100 course that I came across Leicester University. I found Leicester University to be a good fit for me as it seemed both financially feasible and academically strong.

A clinical year at Leicester University is approximately 33,500 pounds and there are a total of three clinical years in the course. My advice when applying for medicine is that the rankings should not be the sole motivator behind your university choices. My reasoning behind this is that firstly, rankings are transformative and never stay the same, and secondly, that most medical institutions are standardised across the board and provide a high standard of education that prepares you for a career as a doctor. Another factor that should be considered is the curriculum. Leicester University, for example, employs an integrated syllabus. This was ideal for me as I find that learning in lectures and then applying this theoretical knowledge practically in group work is effective.

In addition to academic factors, I also focussed on the University city. Leicester is a vibrant, multicultural city which has something for everyone. I was especially ecstatic after I saw the large number of indian restaurants which made me feel like I was close to home. The fact that major Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali are celebrated in a big way is also fantastic. Another big plus is the affordability and comparatively low cost of living. Rent is quite reasonable for decently-sized houses.

Joining the course was a very straightforward experience as we were all assigned a medic family.The medic parents were seniors who volunteered to help out first years and were particularly helpful and had a calming presence. I felt a lot more settled after speaking and spending time with my medic family as they always shared their advice and experience.

The lectures were very well timed (approximately 2 hours/day), which meant that we were not overloaded with information and managed to retain a lot of the information. There was a strong emphasis on the practical side of Medicine, including patient communication and clinical skills. Multiple patient simulations were organised to prepare us right from the beginning. Not long after the simulations, we were given the opportunity to visit a real patient on a regular basis. I felt that this was especially helpful as you got to experience first hand how it feels to have a patient, and the responsibility that comes with it.

The availability of cadavers from the first day was another highlight as that made anatomy so much more interesting. This also ensured that each one of us got decent exposure of human anatomy and were able to practice dissection. As a result of this our learning has been very thorough, allowing us to retain the large curriculum which can be assessed at any time (all topics from year 1-year 5 may be assessed at any time).

In terms of infrastructure and facilities, including the top-class dissection room, the medical school has also built a new medical school building complete with state-of- the-art technology.

I have wholeheartedly enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, my time at Leicester University. I feel as though I have been able to get the work-life balance right. University hours are not particularly long and this allows you to have and maintain hobbies or get involved with various societies, which I think is especially important in this career path. Most importantly the strong focus on practical skills has made me understand, appreciate and enjoy the course even more and will hopefully allow me to see the fruits of my labour in the near future.

Birmingham Medical School

Medefine –  Birmingham Medical School
Kusy Suleiman

Hi, My name is Kusy. I am an international student from Saudi Arabia studying medicine in
the United Kingdom. Studying medicine at the University of Birmingham is a true pleasure; it
incorporates stellar world-class level teaching and gives students who are keen to learn a
true opportunity to grow and excel in their interests. With a medsoc installed and a
multitude of societies to join, no single student ever feels left out! Be it a sport you enjoy, an
art you’ve got a passion for, or even a future speciality you might be interested in,
Birmingham’s college of Medical and Dental sciences makes pursuing your ambition and
making new links ever so easy.

So here’s a little bit about me. I have just finished my pre-clinical years (first two years of the
course), and am very eager to start learning officially in hospitals as a third year medical
student. My experiences with this program have only been positive ones, with great support
and encouragement whenever needed. Nobody said it was easy when I first joined, and I
couldn’t agree more by the end of my 2 nd  year! All I have to say about it in that respect is
that its truly worth it; with hard work, time management and goalsetting, nothing is far-
fetched. I have participated in several societies within the medical school and have even
helped in setting up one with a few colleagues; it is just that easy and the University is very

Living in Birmingham is absolutely wonderful! It is a very multicultural city! You feel very
welcomed immediately after arriving, and you do truly feel like you’ve got a true sense of
belonging. Whether you’re an international student or not, nearly everybody is on the same
boat you are! People are extremely nice, friendly, and kind towards one another and you
get the chance to join many friendship groups; some of which you may decide to abandon
later, whilst many others that will grow to prosper into a friendship of a lifetime!

Exeter Medical School

Medefine – Exeter Medical School
Krutika Shrikhande

A loud and intense banter ensues every session, silent note-taking instantly forgotten. Each member speaks up, a forgotten anatomy term, an interesting research article or even a helpful anecdote creating an atmosphere for discussion. This unique format for studying medicine has definitely helped me widen my medical knowledge but more importantly, it has taught me to express this knowledge effectively to an audience. In my opinion, the University of Exeter Medical School has organised the course in a very interesting manner because we have the chance to interact with our colleagues and share information which fortifies our learning.

As an international student, I was intrigued by the PBL method of learning because I think that it helped maintain my motivation for studying medicine. My interest in this subject largely stemmed from my experiences in a school for children with learning disabilities. I really enjoyed my volunteering experience and interacting with the students and this urged me to learn more about their condition. As my interest in this field grew, I realized that I could use this knowledge to help treat many such disabilities and actually help patients overcome many difficulties. It was the desire to improve their lives that encouraged me to pursue medicine. Over this course, I could directly link presented symptoms and diseases to individual patients which satisfied my original intention behind studying medicine.

My favourite aspect of the course were the Clinical Skills classes, where we learnt some basic medical procedures. These sessions let me merge my theoretical and clinical knowledge, making the heavy course-load more relatable and much easier to understand. I found it much easier to visualize and remember the roles of the cranial nerves when we identified and tested the function of each cranial nerve on our peers. These sessions also built up my interest in the subject because they were exposing me to the more interactive and practical side of medicine which struck a good balance with the more theory heavy sessions like anatomy.

The aspect that makes UEMS unique is that it is very receptive to student suggestions especially since it’s a relatively newer course. There are student committees which are heavily involved with the website to make lectures and resources easily accessible. The professors also actively modify their teaching styles to match the students and consistently ask for feedback which makes them very approachable. Another feature I admire is that the international students blend very well with the class. The students are very friendly and welcoming and there is a good network of senior students who enthusiastically offer their guidance on medical topics and college living. I found it very exciting that I could relate to students who had been raised in a very different environment and that made my year even more enjoyable.

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