This is a podcast from one of our many successful students - Hania!
[Osman]: Hi Hania. Thanks for joining us today, this is Osman from Medlink Students. Thank you for giving us the time to answer the questions that a lot of students have before coming abroad; a lot of students are concerned about countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. I understand you’re from the UK?
[Hania]: Yes, I am.
[Osman]: Perfect, alright, can you introduce yourself a little bit?
[Hania]: I’m Hania, I did A-levels last year, and I applied to do medicine at the end of 2018, and I’m currently studying in Bucharest in Romania.
[Osman]: Fantastic, that’s really good! Tell us a little bit about where you come from the UK then?
[Hania]: From Luton, London.
[Osman]: What year are you in by the way?
[Hania]: I'm currently in the first year.
[Osman]: How are you finding it so far.
[Hania]: So far it's been very good; the university is good, the teachers are good, and the city - Bucharest is a very nice city, its very lively. Its been very good so far.
[Osman]: Fantastic to hear! Can you tell us a little bit about your story Hania? Why you decided to pursue medicine abroad and how you came to the decision to do that?
[Hania]: So I always wanted to do medicine, but in England, I didn't get into medicine I only got in to do medical science. And if I did medical science it would've taken me a long time to become a doctor, it would’ve been a really long path, and this was probably the best way to go about it, and it means I'm studying medicine right now and not anything like it and at the end I’ll become a doctor.
[Osman]: Okay, so you applied in the UK right?
[Hania]: I did, yeah.
[Osman]: Brilliant, so you decided that it was better to go abroad?
[Hania]: Yes, definitely, because that way I could do medicine and not a degree like it.
[Osman]: How do you feel about making that decision now?
[Hania]: I'm really glad I did it because almost a year on its been really good. I'm doing medicine - what I've always wanted to do so I'm really glad I did it.
[Osman]: Did you think you'd be studying in Romania?
[Hania]: I never did. Actually, it was something I never imagined doing, but now that I'm here I'm really glad I'm doing it.
[Osman]: That's fantastic a lot of students tell me that they feel that that was the best decision they’ve ever made - pursuing their dream abroad. Do you agree with this?
[Hania]: Definitely, because I'm doing medicine now and I'm going to be a doctor, and if I were doing anything else in England I wouldn't have become a doctor at the end.
[Osman]: Brilliant, fantastic! That's great to hear. Do you feel like this is a safe option for students to take?
[Hania]: Yeah! It's definitely something you have to get used to; it's changing places and beginning, but you have support from you guys, you have support from back home as well. Personally, I haven't had any bad experience in Romania, the people are very friendly. I wear a hijab, and although there's no diversity and such in Romania, people are friendly.
[Osman]: That's great to hear! A lot of students come from ethnic backgrounds where they have their religious views, and they have their religious practices. You mentioned something about being a hijabi girl, can you talk a little bit about that and how it has affected you if any effects at all?
[Hania]: I haven’t found any major effects and definitely no negative effects. In the university, there are some people who wear hijabs as well, so you’re not on your own. People in Romania are nice. In the university, there's 50 of us from all kinds of countries. Being a hijabi I don't feel isolated in any way.
[Osman]: That’s very good. And what ethnic backgrounds do people come from then; in your class?
[Hania]: All sorts. There are people from all kinds of countries. Actually, there’s a lot of people from England. People from India, Belgium; there are people from everywhere.
[Osman]: And how do you learn? Do you learn in groups, big groups or small groups? How is it, what's the procedure like?
[Hania]: So in medicine, in the English group there’s 50 of us. We have lectures, and we have practicals. The practical groups are a lot smaller, there’s 15 of us, but on lectures, there will be about 50.
[Osman]: How many people per group?
[Hania]: Between 10 and 15 people.
[Osman]: Okay, very good. Do you feel like that's a good size?
[Hania]: Yeah, it's a good size, it's nice that we have lots of opinions.
[Osman]: Okay, fantastic! And how is the group dynamic?
[Hania]: There are lots of different ages as well but that's a good thing, I found it to be a good thing. You get to hear things from other people’s perspectives.
[Osman]: Brilliant, so, you have different ages you said? What age do you mean? What’s the oldest person?
[Hania]: The age range is probably between 18 and 40.
[Osman]: 40? Wow, that's great to see people so dedicated to pursuing their dream of studying medicine. Can you tell me Hania a little bit about the university as well and why you decided that this university was suitable for you in Bucharest?
[Hania]: So the reason I chose to study in Bucharest was mainly because of access. The airport’s in Bucharest, and we’re studying in Bucharest. You can get a direct flight from it to most countries, so coming home is really easy.
[Osman]: Awesome, okay! How would you usually come home?
[Hania]: I get flights from Bucharest directly to Luton so it works out really well for me and it's at the most 3 hours, so it's very fast.
[Osman]: Oh great, and what are the prices like?
[Hania]: It's very cheap. On average I pay 60 pounds; 60-70 pounds per flight.
[Osman]: Wow, that's really cheap. That's amazing. I bet a lot of students come home regularly then.
[Hania]: Yeah, the people who can get direct flights get tickets really cheap.
[Osman]: I also get the opposite perspective of some students as well. They’ll fall in love so much with Bucharest or with the city that they are studying in wherever it is. And they decide: “You know what, I love the freedom, I love living here and the independence” because it helps you grow as well right?
[Hania]: Oh yeah, definitely, it's very very good that I'm on my own in a nice city like Bucharest!
[Osman]: Awesome, nice. Has it helped you grow as a person and develop some skills like dealing with new people, meeting people from everywhere and also be more independent?
[Hania]: Yeah definitely, you have to when you're in a position where you're living on your own for the first time and have to go out and do everything by yourself. In the beginning, it's hard, but you have people around you, people within the university. And you’ve got support from you guys as well, so you're not on your own.
[Osman]: Okay, that's great and can you clarify what do you mean by “you guys” please, Hania?
[Hania]: You, as in Medlink. There are representatives in each university, so we’ve got you.
[Osman]: Oh, fantastic, great! Can you tell us a little bit about your first day in Bucharest and how it went and what it was like?
[Hania]: On my first day we arrived at the airport, and a Medlink representative was there to take us, so that was a big weight off our shoulders as we didn't speak the language and we didn't know the city. They took us directly to the hotel, they helped us settle in the hotel and then they took us to the university as well. They told us how to get there and what transport we need to use and answered all of our questions.
[Osman]: Oh, okay, that great to hear. Did Medlink help you with enrolling as well because it seems to be a little bit complicated abroad?
[Hania]: They did, I didn't have to do much at all. They did all of that for me.
[Osman]: Fantastic, do you have a Medlink representative in the city that you can call at any time?
[Hania]: We do, we have his number, and I’ve spoken to him.
[Osman]: Ok brilliant, fantastic. And how have you found him and his way of dealing with you?
[Hania]: Really good. He is really friendly, and with Medlink I found that they are really friendly, they want to help. So he is really good.
[Osman]: That's great to hear, fantastic! I know when you came the first week it was orientation week in Bucharest if you remember right? How did you find the orientation week? There's a nice ceremony that goes on to welcome the international students and the new students in general.
[Hania]: With the orientation week you get to see all the professors and lecturers. You got to see a lot of the students from the university; you got to see what it's like. It was a very welcoming experience!
[Osman]: That's great to hear. Did you enjoy it and did you enjoy meeting the other Medlink students as well?
[Hania]: I did, definitely, meeting the other students is really good. A lot of us came with the same background, so that really helped.
[Osman]: Okay, and did Medlink help you get along with the new people that arrived there with you as well?
[Hania]: They did, they helped set up group chats, so we were all in contact through the chat from the beginning.
[Osman]: So was it easy for you to socialise with the new students as well?
[Hania]: Yeah because everyone was sort of in it together. They were in the same boat, they were all new. And everyone was welcoming; everyone was friendly. Once you go out and you start talking to people it’s a really nice thing.
[Osman]: Yeah, that's great! Let's talk a little bit about your experience in university academically. You had your exams in January, right? Recently, a couple of months ago. How have you found the way the teaching goes? Can you tell future students like you what to expect, how the classes are done, how the teachers are, and how the exams are?
[Hania]: There are 2 semesters in Romania a year. We have some classes that we take only the first semester, some classes that we take the second semester and some we take in both semesters like anatomy, biochemistry. In the first semester, we had eight classes. We have a week where its both practicals and lectures. It’s 14 weeks in a semester so we have 14 practicals and 14 lectures for each subject. At the end we have exams. We have three weeks of exams then we get a week off. It's very organised.
[Osman]: And how have you found the exams?
[Hania]: They are medical exams so they are difficult and we got under pressure, but frankly, they weren't too bad. We have instructors who’ve structured it so that we have 2 exams per week. This way they are spread out quite well.
[Osman]: That's brilliant! Have you managed to cope okay at university so far because you say it’s quite stressful?
[Hania]: Yeah frankly it’s obviously going to be hard for medicine but its what I wanted to do, you got people around you, and everything goes well.
[Osman]: Thank you for all this information Hania, this is great! I think a lot of new students would really enjoy listening to this. Can you tell me a little bit about your final advice for future students who are considering studying abroad but are scared of taking that leap because they are scared of being alone or going alone? It seems like a daunting experience at first, do you agree?
[Hania]: I think if you want to do medicine, this is a great option so you should leave it open. It's a new thing so; obviously, it's going to be scary and challenging in the beginning, but there’s nothing too difficult. People have done this before so you can do it. I’d definitely go for it.
[Osman]: Fantastic, great! Do you recommend the use of a specific service or do you recommend they go around it in a specific way?
[Hania]: Yeah, I would definitely choose Medlink. Medlink Students are great. They are all very committed students. In going through them it takes your mind off so much, so it really helps. Go through Medlink!
[Osman]: Awesome, okay, that’s brilliant! Do you recommend Bucharest as well as a city to live in and a university to study in?
[Hania]: I would, Bucharest is a lovely city. It's very lively. And then the university itself is very good so yeah, definitely.
[Osman]: That's fantastic Hania, it's great to have you as part of the Medlink family as well. As you hinted towards, everyone is really closely knitted together on campus, right?
[Hania]: Yes, definitely, everyone is very close.
[Osman]: That's fantastic, that's great, thank you a lot Hania! This is going to be a wealth of information for new future students, and I'm sure they are really going to appreciate it. Thanks a lot for your time. Is there anything else you would like to add that I didn't bring up myself.
[Hania]: That's it, I think we’ve covered everything. Thank you very much for talking to me.
[Osman]: Fantastic Hania, thanks a lot!
[Hania]: Thank you. Bye!