Moving to Ireland to study medicine was one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever had to make, and it has been an amazing experience so far. Studying medicine in a different country, so far away from home is a big undertaking, but after spending a little over two years in Cork, I’m convinced it was also the right decision for me, and for many reasons.
In terms of academics, the medical school at UCC has a great faculty with excellent teaching. Our lectures gave us a good foundation in the clinical and behavioural sciences, which made our transition from the classroom to the hospital intuitive and engaging. I have found the tutors at UCC to be knowledgeable, supportive and friendly. Recently, there has been a curriculum shift with increased emphasis on small group and problem-based learning. The sessions promote self-directed learning and allow us to develop communication, research and presentation skills, all of which are part of having a successful career in medicine.
Most North American students who study in Ireland are interested in pursuing postgraduate training back home. I find that UCC does a great job at acknowledging the interests and needs of North American students – there are frequent talks regarding residency positions in Canada/US and what is involved in obtaining such positions. Some of the best help comes from students who have already gone through the process; upper year students are willing to help whenever they can and offer the benefit of their experiences to the upcoming classes. The camaraderie that exists among the students also happens to be one of the things I like most about UCC. Everyone is really sociable and by the end of your first year, you will have worked with everyone in your class.
With regards to living, Cork is a great city to live in with a lively atmosphere and lots to do. The city is big enough to have a good variety of restaurants and shops around town, but small enough that everything is within walking distance. Ireland is famous for its pubs and Guinness, but there is more to Cork. Personally I look forward to the annual film and jazz festivals every fall. One of the other benefits of studying in Ireland is that there are many opportunities for travel as the rest of Europe is only a cheap (and short) flight away!
Coming to Ireland to study medicine is a fantastic opportunity and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far. The education and training I’ve received has been excellent and I think it is a great place for North Americans to come and pursue the study medicine. The opportunity to not only study the art of medicine, but also learn about myself and the city of Cork has been an incredible experience, and I don’t regret my time here for a minute.