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Conversations on Board

ME: Hi, I’m M, I’m a fifth-year medical student from South Africa-

HIM/HER: So that’s like a Public Health Major?

ME: Not quite, I do an MB.ChB. which is a Bachelor’s of Medicine and a Bachelor’s of Surgery-

HIM/HER: So you’re pre-med?

ME: No… I a medical student. We do Medicine as a six year undergraduate degree.

HIM/HER: Will that make you a real doctor one day?

I try very hard not to get frustrated. This is one of the things I really should have anticipated, being on a ship where the vast majority of students follow the USA College Model. Even the computer system has me registered as a Public Health Major, which tells me that I may be the first honest-to-God undergraduate medical student that’s done a full voyage. Which makes me worry if maybe there’s a reason they’ve never done it before: maybe the plate is supposed to be full enough as it is. I know I’m already struggling to keep up with work from back at home and work on the ship.

I try not to place my worth in being classified as a medical student, but it has taken many years for me to become comfortable with my place in the medical field and it’s hard when that’s questioned so often now.

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3 thoughts on “Conversations on Board”

  1. That sounds frustrating!
    I went to a summer program in Europe where I was the only person doing the whole North American system thing and thus was the only one not in a 6 year direct entry program. So, I was “old” compared to almost everyone and they all initially questioned my competence because I wasn’t in school as long as the others.

  2. Why is this funny to me? I always forget that the 6 year model isn’t done everywhere. When I applied for my U.S. visa last month, my interviewer kept trying to ascertain what I ‘meant’ by ‘doctor’ and ‘medicine’!
    But do your thing, hope your having fun otherwise.

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