I have been attending University College Cork (UCC) in the five-year medical program for the past year and a half and it has been an incredible journey so far.
Since I was fifteen years old I knew I wanted to be a doctor, and as my high school years started passing by, it was time to start looking into how to achieve that goal. I heard about the Atlantic Bridge Program through family and friends and decided that living abroad would be a good fit for me. Before I applied, I studied at the University of Regina for one year, to help prepare me for the busy, independent lifestyle I would find in Ireland the following year. Atlantic Bridge made the application process so incredibly easy, and were always quick to respond when I had a question or concern.
Moving away to a new country and beginning my medical journey at the age of nineteen was a scary transition. Despite my fears, I knew it was the right choice for me and that going outside of my comfort zone would only benefit me more in the future. It also became apparent to me how close-knit and kind my class is. There are social events throughout the year to help everyone get to know each other. The staff and my classmates create an atmosphere and environment that is very supportive.
Our course load is heavy yet interesting, and we are introduced early on to clinical experiences, which does so much to prepare us for our later years. A lot of time has to be dedicated to my studies, which is to be expected in a medical program. The exam format is a combination of multiple choice and short answer, the multiple choice being best of five to help prepare us for what we will see if we write our USMLE exams. The education we receive is impeccable and they do an amazing job at preparing us for exams required to return to North America to practice medicine once we graduate.
Living in Ireland is quite similar to living in North America. I have lived in student residency to date and have enjoyed it. One suggestion I would give is to invest in a good pair of walking shoes, as you will be doing a lot of walking, from grocery stores, to classes on campus and in the hospitals. Ireland is a very friendly, peaceful country with an amazing view to go along with it. I am so lucky to get to not only live in a beautiful country but to also be gaining my medical education.
I am dedicated to becoming a great physician, and UCC is providing the education and experience necessary to do that. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I am excited to see where this experience will take me and what the future will hold.