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International perspective: an Australian medical student in Ireland

Moving to a different country, leaving your friends, family and everything you know, can be daunting and scary. There were times when I had second thoughts and questioned if moving abroad was right for me. Many do not realise how difficult it is to move away and live as an international student in the hopes of a better life, career and future.   

But now that I’m halfway through my studies, I can happily say it was the best choice I ever made. It made me independent and confident and I grew as a person. So, if you are considering this path, I couldn’t recommend it enough.  

My name is Aditi, I’m 20 years old and I come from Melbourne, Australia. I’m originally from Mumbai, India. However because of my parents’ work, I emigrated to the UK when I was four years old. I lived there for 10 years and went to primary and middle school there.

Then I moved to Australia and finished high school there. I completed my high school degree (VCE) and received my ATAR (a ranking of Year 12 results that measures your overall academic achievement compared with all other final-year students in Australia which you need to enter undergraduate courses in Australia and overseas). I knew I wanted to study medicine once my secondary education was complete.

In Australia, I had the option of doing direct entry medicine (DEM) or graduate entry medicine (GEM). Most Australians choose to do GEM because DEM can be highly competitive, with the spaces incredibly limited. Therefore I wanted to explore my options abroad.   

After researching universities in the UK and Ireland I came across the RCSI and UCD Malaysia Campus (RUMC). I particularly liked it because of its great travel opportunities. I applied directly through RUMC’s website, choosing the undergraduate direct entry medical programme (five years).

I didn’t need to do an additional foundation year (in Malaysia) because I met the entry requirements for the five-year programme and so I went directly to Dublin to start year one. I spent two and a half years of my medical journey in Dublin completing the theoretical part of my studies. I then progressed to Penang, Malaysia to start my clinical years for the rest of my degree.