Name: Andréa Glennon (19)
Studying: Medicine at the NC University Collegium Medicum, Bydgoszcz.
I knew that I couldn’t do medicine in Ireland. The points were too high and when we were looking at other places, Poland became an option because it’s as close to Ireland as you are going to get.
I went to a boarding school so I was used to being away from home but the first six months were very difficult here. There were cultural differences, living on my own. I am an only child so it was difficult on my parents having me in a different country but once I got over the first six months, it was totally worth it.
The cost of living is so cheap. You can go to the cinema, you can eat out – it costs a fraction of what it does at home. It has made it a lot easier – you don’t feel as bad when you go out – if you don’t want to cook – you can eat out or eat in for pretty much the same price. The flights are very cheap to get here as well so it’s a win-win.
Our hours are quite long. I often start at 8am and finish at 7.30pm with not many breaks. The student-teacher ratio is very good and you could have as few as five people in a tutorial. It’s very good – the weeks fly by.
The academic year begins in September and ends at the beginning of July. It’s a little bit longer than at home. We also do a month of work experience in Dublin. So I am doing it in the Mater Private as a nurse just to get experience of working in a hospital.
Not only would I recommend it as an alternative route but I would actually recommend it as the main route because there are so many more opportunities. You get out of your comfort zone which I really think – not just as an alternative route – could be something for someone who gets 625 points in their Leaving Certificate.