A Greek medical student’s experiences studying in Brighton!
I’m Stef, and I’m originally from Corinth, Greece, which is located 1 hour west of the capital, Athens. I moved to Brighton at 19, after finishing my A-Levels which I did at an international school in Athens, and after taking a gap year to gain healthcare experience. I’m studying Medicine at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), which is a partnership between the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex I’m currently in 4th year, which is my penultimate year before I qualify as a doctor!
How did you hear about the University of Brighton?
I first heard about the University of Brighton during my visit to a UK University Fair in Athens, Greece back when I was researching my options for medical school. I had the opportunity to talk to a university representative about the Medicine course at BSMS, as well as about the wider student experience at the University of Brighton. Hearing about the course’s high student satisfaction score and consistent position among the top schools (BSMS was the highest-ranked UK institution in the latest Times Higher Education Young University World Rankings) prompted me to do further research online and talk to current and previous students – this led me to apply and the rest is history!
Why did you choose the University of Brighton?
I was lucky to visit the University of Brighton during my Medicine interview at BSMS – I was immediately drawn to the university’s location and the local community. The medical school campus (Falmer campus) is at the doorstep of the South Downs National Park and I couldn’t imagine anything better than studying near all this green scenery! During my campus visit, I also spoke to current students who shared their positive experiences about studying at Brighton and Sussex Medical School – everyone was incredibly friendly and approachable! After my interview, walking at the Brighton seafront on a sunny day reminded me of the town I grew up in Greece where the sea was a stone’s throw from my house – Brighton simply felt like home!
What’s your favourite thing about your course?
Honestly, where do I begin? I have enjoyed every aspect of my Medicine course so far – some highlights include donated human cadaver dissection during anatomy teaching in earlier years, student-selected modules where I’ve been able to explore special interests, clinical simulation sessions with actors (yes, tears are often involved…), opportunities for extra-curricular activities and student societies, and the small cohort size of the year groups, making BSMS a close-knit community! My favourite aspect of the course, however, has definitely been the early patient contact during our medical training. Interacting with patients as early as the first few weeks of medical school made a massive difference to my clinical experiences in later years which are hospital-based.
What’s your favourite part of Brighton and why?
What’s not to love about Brighton? From the beach and the Brighton Palace Pier, to the iconic Lanes (picturesque alleys with shops and restaurants), and the local music and art festivals – but if I had to pick one thing, it would be the food! Brighton’s food scene is a foodie’s dream come true as there is so much variety on offer. You can find every type of cuisine under the sun, so I guarantee you won’t miss the food from your home country (shoutout to ‘Kouzina’ restaurant!). Brighton is also the UK’s most vegan-friendly city so if you’re vegan or vegetarian like me, you will have plenty of options – plant-based Japanese food at ‘Kusaki’ has been a favourite of mine lately! If you want to know more about food in Brighton, feel free to check out my (Hungry) Student’s Brighton Food Guide here.
What do you plan on doing after your studies?
After I graduate from medical school, I will be a qualified doctor but I will still need to undertake further training in the NHS (the UK’s public healthcare system) to specialise in a specific field of medicine. I am not ready to leave Brighton anytime soon so I am planning to apply for a junior doctor position at the local NHS Trust and follow the training pathway to become an anaesthetist – a specialist doctor who provides anaesthesia to patients for operations and procedures (generally known as the doctor who ‘puts you to sleep before surgery)!
What’s the main difference between studying in your home country and studying in Brighton?
UK universities are very inclusive and more aware of the needs of students with disabilities and learning difficulties compared to Greek universities. The University of Brighton has a dedicated Disability and Dyslexia Team to support students with various disabilities including physical disabilities, long term medical conditions, learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia), mental health issues (e.g. anxiety, depression) and neurodiversity (e.g. autism, ADHD). The available support includes, but is not limited to, course adjustments for teaching and assessments, study skills mentoring, assistive technology and counselling! Being able to access support from the Disability and Dyslexia Team has been invaluable and has helped me progress through my course – I can’t imagine not receiving the help I needed when I was struggling, which unfortunately is the case for many students at universities abroad, including Greece. Disability should not get in the way of succeeding at your course and the University of Brighton are doing their best to ensure that.
Do you have any tips for students from your home country who are considering applying to Brighton?
Go for it! I know first-hand how daunting it may feel leaving home and your loved ones to move to a foreign country where you don’t know anyone – but you will meet many new people who will become friends for life and you will have many fun and rewarding experiences, both in and out of your course wherever you end up! Having lived here for 5 years, I can say that Brighton feels like home away from home and I’m grateful to my 19-year-old self for taking the leap and making the decision to study here!