I was applying to medical schools in the US and UK, and when a family member happened across the Atlantic Bridge website and encouraged me to apply. At the time, I knew barely anything about Ireland or the medical schools there and thought, “why not add another country to my list?” I checked the boxes for all of the universities, sent in my application, and then the waiting game began. I was thrilled when I was accepted to Trinity College, Dublin a few months later, and was so excited to start this adventure! There were a few bumps in the road before I began, but Atlantic Bridge was great at helping me along the way, and very easy to communicate with.
I finally arrived in Dublin and a year and a half later, I am now in the middle of my second year and can’t imagine being anywhere else. I love the city and have made some great friends. With about twenty five North Americans and many other international students, adjusting to Ireland, to the different grading styles, and to being in medical school was made much easier. In general, Irish people are so friendly that feeling at home and comfortable in Dublin happened quickly for me.
The first academic year focuses on the basics of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. In second year so far, we have continued with head and neck anatomy, clinical biochemistry, molecular medicine, and pharmacology. In second year we also spend one day a week at the hospitals learning clinical skills. Starting from third year, the majority of our time will be spent in hospital.
We have the incredible opportunity of working in a state of the art anatomy dissection theatre with a small ratio of 7 or 8:1 students per table. The hands-on learning has proved so valuable instead of solely relying on textbooks and pictures. With a mix of problem based learning, small group tutorials, labs, and lectures, there is variety in the ways we are taught.
Trinity College has many societies and sports to get involved with throughout the year. There are also plenty of fun events to balance out all the studying that med students do! Being in Dublin has also made travel around Europe easy and cheap, during our breaks and even for the weekend. A few friends and I went to Paris and Belgium during our week off in February and enjoyed seeing the sights and tasting the food. I’ve visited the UK a few times to see friends, and also spent some traveling in Italy before starting second year.
Coming to Ireland is a great chance to study abroad at a well-respected university. You will have resources and students in the years above to help you along the way of getting back home to North America to do electives and residency. For anyone still considering whether or not to apply to the Irish universities, I would say definitely try – I have no regrets!