So I am back here again. Today I wanna talk about some of my experiences in medical school, and how it felt like schooling abroad.
Simply put, it was not easy at all. As if medicine on its own wasn’t hard enough, my parents then decided Ukraine was the best place to do it.
- Location: Ukraine is in Eastern Europe. Because of my dad’s profession we had to move around a lot. As you might already know I am Ghanaian but we were living in the Fiji Islands where I completed my high school education. So I was basically leaving my comfort zone, the serene and tropical South pacific haven to the cold world of Ukraine! Away from family! Believe me when I say I was not thrilled at all!
- Language: The main languages spoken in Ukraine are Ukrainian and Russian, with Ukrainian being the country’s official language. FYI, I suck at learning languages, I wasn’t blessed with that ability. I had lived in Fiji for more than 5 years, since 2010 and i still wasn’t fluent in either the Fijian language or Hindi considering the fact that all my friends were mostly Indian. Thank God english is part of the official languages in Fiji. Anyways I moved to Ukraine where they don’t speak english and I had to struggle to get around. I bought things by pointing to them and google translating! Thank God for google!!
- Family- I was so used to being with my family because over the years we’ve always been together and even whiles i did my foundation studies on a different island in Fiji they visited often and they could just pitch up! But let’s face it, unless you have an endless supply of cash, no one was just gonna pitch up to Ukraine. Sad!
- Friends- I suck at making friends! God knows! I am shy and don’t know how to make the first move towards friendship. It took time for me to warm up to my college friends in Fiji, oh my Indian family and Joe my Korean brother, they were so sassy and fun! Now in Ukraine I was back to being the awkward girl who just smiles and blocks my ears with my big beats pro and walks around with a strict face that others deem unapproachable (I don’t think it’s strict, I just think I might be lost in thoughts or hangry, y’all know hunger does that.)
So yeah I came to Ukraine alone, unaccompanied by my parents to this new land. As it was my first time in Europe, I thought to myself let the adventure begin! and oh it did! From Dnipropetrovsk-DNK, I landed in Vinnytsa (where i schooled) and it was terrible! Yeah sorry to burst your bubble but it wasn’t fun at all! It was a public holiday so there wasn’t a direct train to Vinnytsa. The train from DNK to Kiev was an old sleeping train, it was tight, smelly and hot! It was terrible!
But alas, I came and I conquered! The top lessons I learnt during my medical school days in Ukraine are:
- Balance- Life is about balance. There is no family here to push you to keep your values and stay on course. There’s liberty to go where you want to, when you want to. Because of this people usually forget the real reason they travelled in the first place; that it was for education and not for tourism. They tend to live a life of false balance and ditch classes when they feel like it and they end up with so many unfinished courses that leads them to either drop out or repeat classes. You can study and have fun but there must be a balance. One where your priorities are straight yet you find a way to destress.
- Spirituality- You are free to change your lifestyle and do all the things you weren’t allowed to before. In a way it helps people find out who they really are but in another way people fall away from the basic principles they were taught and fall into bad company. You find that you have to encourage yourself to read your bible or pray or even to join a church or whatever it is you do to maintain your spirituality. Books become your life, followed by rest because you are almost always drained due to the stress of it all. It’s a fight to keep your spirituality.
- Maturity- Oh how you will grow! Tossed to the wind and left to navigate the world on your own… You are going to cry on certain days and wonder why you chose medicine as a career path and if you’re anything like me you will start to look for other career paths. Let me let you in on a little secret, I decided to drop out to become a chef at a certain point because I love food and because I thought that would be easier! The freedom of being by yourself forces you to balance life whilst getting to know yourself, keeping relationships with old friends and trying to not mess up your life by following the crowd! Because every decision was going to affect you one way or the other. You will definitely mature if you don’t give up.
So in conclusion,Ukraine is a nice country and I wouldn’t take back any experience because I grew through those experiences and I am grateful. Medicine is not as easy as making an omelet but it requires all the dedication you have to give and the ability to never give up. I am glad I stayed on course. I am happy I got the opportunity to grow up in Ukraine too.xo