Carol Yassa

When I got my acceptance from Atlantic Bridge, let’s just say my reaction wasn’t a “normal” reaction. I was quite upset that if I accepted, I would be living away from home. But in the end, my dream of pursuing medicine got the best of me. At that time, I did not know that going to Galway would lead me to a whole new type of family and build up my character for the better in ways that I could never have imagined. Coming straight out of high school, I got into the 6 year program at NUIG. In my first year, the courses included the basic sciences such as Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. However, my favourite course was an Introduction to Medicine course.

In this course we got an early exposure to talking with patients and learned how to take a patient history in a professional manner. This year also gave me a chance to learn to live on my own and become independent. I was grateful for the smooth transition of moving to a new country and I have Atlantic Bridge, my family and friends, and the welcoming Irish community to thank for that. Atlantic Bridge gave us all the necessary information that we needed when it came to accommodation, fees, documents, and vaccinations.

NUIG also offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities. I was able to join soccer and tried playing rugby. There are also many societies that are medically oriented (such as paediatrics, emergency medicine, etc) which consist of a lot of volunteer work and learning opportunities. One of the most important societies that I was introduced to was NIMSA (North American Irish Medical Student’s Association). It was nice to meet other Canadians and hear their stories. The upper years were very supportive and informative when it came to study tips for school and future board exams advice.

One of the things that makes Galway stick out from other universities is that it is a very small town with a unique culture. I like how everything is walking distance and you could even enjoy the ocean just by walking to Salthill. I’ve never met a more welcoming group of people and whenever it’s time to go back, I’m always excited and looking forward to it. Studying in Ireland has not only allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a physician but has also given me the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to travel Europe easily.

Now I’m in my 2nd year at NUIG and it’s only getting more exciting and challenging. The courses this year are more medically related such as Anatomy, Physiology, and Biochemistry. We also had a Professionalism course which included a wide range of topics such as Statistics, Informatics, Health and Society, Law, and Ethics. NUIG also has a lot of support systems in place. We got assigned to a tutor who will be our mentor for the next 5 years. Not only do they offer academic advice, but they also support us in any problems that we face. The professors and lab coordinators are caring,
approachable, and knowledgeable. They are passionate about what they’re teaching which makes going to lectures not only profitable but enjoyable.

So far, in my first 2 years studying at NUIG, there has been at least one big group project. This has helped me build communication and teamwork skills. Throughout the semester, I learn a lot of material when it comes to the academics, however, every day has been a learning experience for me, and studying at NUIG has helped shape me into a more well rounded student. Even though the stress levels are slowly starting to rise because of the work load, I know that I’ve made the right choice and I’m thankful that I get to study medicine in a beautiful country with the most amazing group of people who share the same interests and passions as I do.

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