Kineta Valoo

Coming to the RCSI in 2012, after graduating from high school in Toronto, Canada, was my first time coming to Europe. I never thought that I would find a place as culturally diverse as Toronto, but I was proven wrong when I came to RCSI.

It is not difficult for international students to adjust because you are surrounded by other international students who are going through the same thing as you. They are also coming to terms with moving away from home for the first time and being in a new country, while also studying a rather difficult health sciences degree.

I think the cultural societies at RCSI have helped me to adjust to academic life. For me, the Canadian-Irish Medical Students Association (CIMSA) has been great in terms of providing a platform for older students to guide younger students in working towards our future career goals.

Not only does RCSI provide high-quality medical teaching, students can also learn from each other about customs and practices from all over the world. In just five years, I have made friends from more than 15 different countries, developed a passion for photography, and learned to Bhangra dance (a traditional Punjab dance), all while becoming a doctor.

Two years ago I also had the opportunity to undertake an Erasmus placement in Almería, Spain, where I worked as a research assistant in a microbiology lab for eight weeks. This was my first time conducting research and working in a laboratory, and I had the best experience. Not only did I learn a lot about microbiology and the research process, but I also got to travel to the beautiful region of Andalusia and make friends from all over the world. One of my favourite parts about being in RCSI is being able to access the rest of Europe so easily, and I've travelled around as much as possible during my time here.

Ireland is a beautiful country and Dublin is a student-friendly city. It is small but there are lots of students around. There is a lot on offer to students in terms of entertainment, food, bars and cafes, all of which surround the college.

Dr Kineta Valoo, Undergraduate Medicine, Class of 2018.

This is a shortened version of an article which originally appeared on timeshighereducation.com. Read the full article here.