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THE USA: Subject Guides

Student Spotlight: Health and Medicine

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Name:  Ingrid Pamela Castaneda

Course: Medicine (hopefully)

Study Level: Undergrad    

University: Texas Woman’s University

Country of origin:  Colombia


Q. Why did you enroll on your course and how did you choose your university?

I decided to move to the US about 6 years ago to undertake an English course. I decided to stay in Dallas, Texas because it was close to some relatives. Medicine has always been my passion so I decided to have a look at undergrad programmes on health care subjects at this university for its convenient location as well as offering me flexibility to combine the modules in Biology and Chemistry that I need to make any initial application.

Q. Why did you choose the US as a study destination?

I chose the US because is a country that offers a huge variety of opportunities of study as well as being internationally recognized for the quality of their undergrad programmes.

Q. How would you describe the structure of your course?

The subjects’ structure that I have taken so far is very good, mainly for international students whose mother tongue is not English. The educational process starts at a basic level where we look at biology, anatomy, etc. and slowly we are introduced to more complex matters.

Q. How does the English teaching style differ from that in your home country?

To be honest, I did not see many differences. The teaching style is very similar and really helps you to not only speak the language but to understand the culture behind it.

Q. How did you fund your studies? 

Through scholarships offered by the government and personal savings. Being a Latina young woman has given me advantages to apply for certain funding offered for minorities. However, the competition is fierce and I have to show I am very talented and passionate about medicine in order to get funding. 

Q. What were the biggest challenges that you faced in your first year in the US? 

One of the biggest challenges was the language. Although I could get by with my knowledge of English, there were many terms that I couldn’t understand at the start, mainly those science-related. I think it is a challenge that we all face, the most important thing is to work hard to improve our language skills and not to give up.

Q. What are the best things about your course?

The best of my course is how approachable the tutors and professors are when I have problems with a specific subject as well as the variety of interactive resources that I have access to in my institution.

Q. What are you planning to do after graduation?

Well, for now I need to finish the foundation course for the medicine programme. Once I graduate, I will have to concentrate all my energy in elaborating my application to the medicine programme in the same university and to get as much experience as possible to prepare myself for university.

Q. What advice would you give to other new international students?

I advise them to join different clubs such as international clubs and academic clubs. Being part of different groups is of great importance as you can meet people that have been in your same position. You can find new friends and create new contacts that will help you during the rest of your time abroad.

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