Tom Drago

After being accepted to Trinity College in the summer after undergrad I knew that the next five years of my life were going to be challenging, but I knew that Trinity College would be the place that could get me from undergrad to a physician. I had heard about the Atlantic Bridge Program through family and friends who are in healthcare and have talked very highly of this medical program along with the incredibly high standards that Trinity College was renowned for worldwide.

Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland and studying neuroscience at the Pennsylvania State University, I had never thought to apply to medical schools outside of the States. However, after hearing such good reviews from healthcare professionals who have worked alongside Trinity College physicians in America, I figured that I would give it my best shot.

After reading the North American Student Stories on the Atlantic Bridge website as well as the program curriculum that Trinity College provided, I realized that this was a very well-established program that has clearly been working for people who had been in my shoes before. The hospitals in America that the website said Trinity has affiliations with, seemed too good to be true.  They were all top of the line schools/hospitals, and this reassured me that a world-famous university could get me anywhere I worked towards, despite not being an “American” medical school.

The transition from America to Ireland was surprisingly much easier than it sounded at the time. After meeting my Student-2-Student mentors during Fresher’s Week, joining the Biological Society (an association for students in the medical school) as well as the North American-Irish Medical Students Association (NIMSA), I quickly began to feel that this was no different than my first week of Freshman year of college back home.

My first few weeks/months of First Year were stressful but eye-opening. I realized many things about the medical class that I was a part of, ranging from its global diversity to the high expectations that the university assigned to us. Out of around 160 students, I was one of about 15 Americans in my class, and one of about 30 North Americans. I was amazed with the diversity that I was surrounded by, learning that people in my Anatomy Lab group came from places such as Singapore, Philippines, the Caribbean, England, and eastern Europe. I found it so fascinating and valuable working with people from across the globe, all of us studying medicine together.

The curriculum was rigorous and I heard it would only get more challenging, as I am now experiencing as a Second Year. As tough as it is, I am confident that it will pay off considering the older NIMSA members are all doing well on the USMLE and matching into very competitive programs back home.

All of this good news makes it the perfect medical experience! Incredibly grateful to be here!