Michelle Arakgi

Ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a doctor. I did everything I could to enable myself to achieve this goal. Once I graduated university, I applied to both North American medical schools as well as schools in Ireland via the Atlantic Bridge Program. I was accepted to the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). Though I was hesitant to move so far from family and friends, the chance to study to become a doctor was not something I could pass up.

The moment I arrived in Ireland I knew I had made the right decision. The people at Atlantic Bridge provided me with all of the information I needed to find suitable accommodation and get settled in Galway. The friendly Irish atmosphere made me feel right at home. The city of Galway is an amazing place to live. You can walk everywhere and the cost of living is much cheaper than in Dublin. We’re also very close to Salthill where you’ll find the famous Galway Bay. There is plenty of good food and entertainment to enjoy year round.

The education here at NUIG has been outstanding. You can tell immediately that the professors really care about training excellent physicians and that they want to see you succeed. We are lucky enough to have a full cadaver lab here at NUIG so the hands on learning starts right away! Our class size is fairly large, but by the end of the first year you get to know your fellow classmates well. The curriculum here is diverse and rigorous. The classes cover both the foundations of medicine and more specific special study areas that help guide you in choosing future career paths. There are also many research opportunities for students to participate in. The School of Medicine has an excellent research program in place to help match students with supervisors for summer projects.

NUIG also offers an Erasmus program. Students have the opportunity to spend one semester studying in France, Switzerland, or Sweden. I was lucky enough to take part in this program during my third year. I spent three months in France completing medical rotations at Université Montpellier. Studying in France enabled me to see more of the world, as well as develop my French language skills. This is something that will be invaluable to me when I return to Canada.

Another great aspect of NUIG student life is the clubs and societies. There are so many you’re almost certain to find something that suits you. Getting involved in extracurricular activities is an excellent way to get to know Irish students outside of your class.

Overall, my time at NUIG has been very rewarding and enjoyable. Moving to Ireland and studying at NUIG has provided me with many experiences that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I highly recommend the program to those looking to study medicine abroad.

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