If you had told me two and a half years ago that I was going to be spending four years of my life in a city called Cork, I probably would have laughed in disbelief. Originally, I had not considered studying medicine abroad an option and it wasn’t until I applied to Irish medical schools that I had ever even heard of Cork! It was a friend of mine, a year ahead of me and studying in Dublin, who recommended I apply to Ireland–and so I did, never imagining that I would be accepted and granted the permission and financial support of my family to go! Since making that important decision, my journey to Cork and my time so far at UCC have certainly been exciting and fulfilling.
Since I first stepped off the plane in Dublin and made the drive south along winding Irish roads, I have come to love Cork as a second home. What I have come to appreciate about Cork is how closely city and country coexist! From the windows of our lecture rooms we can see green hills and sheep in the distance, yet the city centre offers everything you would need. Everything is accessible by foot or public transit, and it is easy to find reasonable accommodation within walking distance of the UCC campus and the major hospitals.
I wondered, initially, how I would fare adjusting from the environment of the University of Toronto, Canada’s largest university, to the much smaller UCC. With the smaller class size (approx. 40 students), I have noticed a much closer relationship between faculty and students. Faculty members are extremely understanding and supportive and take an interest in students and their satisfaction with the medical program. There are also plenty of opportunities to participate in medical research and the university offers a wide range of extracurricular activities. I have certainly appreciated and benefited from the faculty’s support at UCC and don’t feel anything is lacking in my medical education or experience as a medical student.
To those in the same situation that I faced two years ago, I would recommend without hesitation studying in Ireland and, in particular, studying in Cork. In addition to the reasons I have listed above, studying in Ireland offers the opportunity to live in another country, enjoy a new culture and travel easily. As for the rain…well, I figure it’s easier to study when it¹s raining!