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The University of Southampton

Alaa Al Zaghal BM5, final year 2022

Alaa Al Zaghal's Photo

Studying at Southampton has really opened my eyes. I have met people from so many different backgrounds and I feel this has helped to develop my skills as a future doctor.

I chose to come and study at the University of Southampton for many reasons, but I really feel that in reality Southampton chose me! I liked the diverse and friendly environment and the huge number of extracurricular opportunities. Plus the city has temperate weather which is always a good thing.

I did have some anxieties before I came – there was a big change in culture for me and I was worried I wouldn’t fit in, but I found that the people here really helped me to acclimatise. I feel like I’m part of a big family, inside and outside my course.

Studying at Southampton has really opened my eyes, as I have met people from so many different backgrounds, and I feel this has helped to develop my skills as a future doctor.

I love all the societies and activities on offer here and joining in has taught me how to find the best work-life balance. I have volunteered for Streetdoctors, an organisation that tackles youth violence, and in the library – so you can see how varied the opportunities are! I have learned so much about what I might encounter as a doctor, as well as the dynamics of team work which I know will really help me understand the world I will be working in. I have also learned to box which is great physical exercise and is helping me to focus my mind better.

My ambitions seem to evolve as I experience new things almost every day, but my heart is set on making an impact in areas where there is very little medical provision. I would like to go and work for an organisation like Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) where I can really make a difference to peoples’ lives.

I’m so proud about how far I’ve come as a person since I started studying here. I would do it all again – even the mistakes - as my choices allow me to learn so much about myself. I would encourage all new students here to take it one step at a time; be dedicated and find an area you are passionate about for your work experience. Sometimes, adjusting can take time if you are an international student. But be kind to yourself - you will find a family here if you are open to new activities and friendships, and want to make the best of this amazing journey. Above all, believe in yourself and build your resilience – you can do it!

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