What is a Stethoscope Stereotype?
This is a new series where I shed light on medical students from a variety of backgrounds and share their experiences with applications, their expectations (and what the reality was) and any advice for people who want to apply. These are people who may not fit the normal stereotype of medicine and will make some of the best doctors of their generation.
Today’s post follows Ellie, a student from the UK who is studying medicine in China.
Introduce yourself, who you are, what year are you in and where do you study?
My name is Ellie and I’m a first year MBBS student in China! I’m technically in my second year of university because the first official year was spend learning Mandarin, then from second year onwards we learn medicine.
Tell us a little about why you decided to become a doctor
I flip-flopped between the medical field and the legal field during my GCSEs. I have no idea why I even wanted to do law; I don’t know anyone in the legal field but it just looked like an interesting career! On the other hand, I love the diversity and broad spectrum of the medical field and medicine itself and initially wanted to do veterinary medicine. For A Levels, I was still set on law, so I decided on humanities and forgot about medicine, but after my A Levels, I did another 180 and decided to apply for medicine after all (switching to Clinical Medicine in the end!)
Where did you apply and why?
I was looking at universities in Bulgaria, Russia and China mostly. My family was preparing to move out of the UK so I decided to apply to a university abroad because it’s far cheaper and I could live in a country I hadn’t been to before. I settled on China because from talking to people already here, it was much cheaper than other countries, the teaching was good, and the universities I wanted to apply to are accredited abroad!
How did you find the application process, any advice?
The application process for studying in China was very straightforward. I sent copies of my GCSE and A-Level results, a health check, a criminal records check, and a personal statement that talked about why I wanted to study abroad, why I chose the university I did, and how I planned on advancing my career once I graduated. I didn’t have to do the UCAT or BMAT so that stress was out of my equation!
What colour is your stethoscope?
It’s black! Simple and classic!
What advice you would give now you have gotten in?
I’d say that it’s important to set a good study foundation. Right from the get-go make a schedule and stick to it so you build good habits and are less likely to have a bunch of work piled up. I’d also say that impostor syndrome is a real thing so it’s important to remember that you 100% deserve to be where you are!
Tell us about a strange experience you have had at medical school
I haven’t had any strange experiences actually! Everything has been pretty normal so far, but well see what the future holds.
Do you have any questions you wished you had asked before you started and how you would answer them?
I don’t think I have any! When I’m researching something, especially a decision as big as medical school I go all out and ask any question in my head and research it to its fullest extent!
Because of that I was pretty prepared before coming out here.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that I finally pick what specialty I want to go into! I’m still juggling between 4 choices and I’d love to narrow it down. I also hope that I enjoy my future blocks. Every semester I have one subject I don’t like but I hope I can learn to love them all soon.
Tell us a little more about the image you chose to represent you:
The featured image I picked is of the mountains in Zhangjiajie National Park in Hunan province, China. I live just a train ride away but because university is so busy all the time, I haven’t had a good opportunity to visit yet! It just represents me living in a new country in a new time in my life, and I just love it! Side note: the movie Avatar was filmed here, which is also really cool!