British student to study medicine in Romania
An aspiring doctor who was not given a place to study medicine in the UK despite getting straight As at A-level has been forced to go to Romania for medical training.
Miriam Bourne, from Bodmin, Cornwall, scored high grades in her exams but none of the British universities she applied to would give her a place to study medicine and she will now spend six years in the city of Constanta to study medicine at Ovidius University. The 18-year-old student, who received A grades in biology, chemistry and geography was rejected by Bristol, Sheffield, Manchester and Keele university after she applied in October. But instead of choosing to take a gap year and reapply, she turned her sights to eastern Europe after reading about the region’s emerging universities. The six-year degree course at Ovidius University is recognised by the General Medical Council and has annual tuition fees of 5,000 Euros, half the £9,000 per year charged in Britain. Ms Bourne said: She said: “Studying medicine is unbelievably competitive because there are only a limited number of places available.
“From speaking to other people I was pretty fortunate to get two interviews – a lot of people just get four flat-out rejections. “The advice was to wait another year or pick another related subject but it’s always been my dream to become a doctor. I’ve worked really hard to get the grades I need.” The cost of living in Constanta, Romania’s oldest city, will be low but as she doesn’t have access to grants, Ms Bourne needs to raise £60,000 to fund her studies. She said: “Overall it will cost a lot less than British medical school but I won’t be able to get student loans. I’m hoping to raise the money but there is a long way to go.” But Ms Bourne is determined to enroll in her course and is excited about studying in a new country.
She said: “I knew very little about Romania other than what I learnt in geography. I’d obviously heard the references to Transylvania, communism and so forth. “People kept telling me it was a poor country and asking why I’d want to go there. There is poverty, of course, but it’s actually a fast-developing country and the facilities look great. “The course is really hands-on as well and I’ll get to work in a Romanian hospital which should be a challenge. “They have a great climate, proper snow in the winter and there will be people from all sorts of different cultures to get to know. “There’s no Asda or Sainsbury’s so I’m not sure what I’ll be eating over there but I like to have a pretty healthy lifestyle anyway — I’m not the type to survive on baked beans.”
Miriam’s mother, Jackie, 42, said it was frustrating to watch her daughter suffer rejections as other students with lower grades had been offered places at the same universities. She said: “Miriam was devastated to get rejected from the four universities, particularly Keele, where she thought she did well. “It is so frustrating when some of her friends did get places to study medicine even though their results were not as good. “The thought of her studying so far away in Romania does make me a little anxious but it’s also an exciting opportunity for her. “We will miss her terribly because she’s such a wonderful daughter but it’s her life and it’s fantastic that she’s so determined to succeed.” The General Medical Council said that the number of doctors on the medical register who gained their Primary Medical Qualification in Romania has increased from 567 in 2007 to 2,002 by the end of 2012.
A spokesperson for Studying in Romania Guide said the number of UK students studying medicine in Romania had increased overall in recent years. He said: “Absolutely, because as more time passes, more know the advantage of going out [to study]. “The number of students who come increases each year.”
A UCAS spokesperson said: “Securing a university place is competitive, and although students may miss out on the place they hoped for, other universities are likely to make them an offer. “There are still thousands of courses with vacancies in clearing, listed on the UCAS website. “If an applicant has their heart set on a particular course that isn’t available, one option is to apply again next year.”