The cultural ‘shock’ of moving to a foreign country can be a positive experience –just ask Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery student Rahul Sharma.

Despite moving from the bustling sub-continent of India to the much quieter small Australian island of Tasmania, Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery student Rahul Sharma says the adjustment has been relatively smooth.  

In 2012, aged 14, Rahul and his family moved from Delhi, India to Tasmania, Australia. There are few similarities between the two regions; for example, the capital city of New Delhi has a population around 85 times larger than Tasmania’s capital, Hobart!

The Sharma family moved to allow Rahul’s father to complete his marketing PhD at the University of Tasmania. Five years later Rahul also enrolled at the university.

“After studying at Hobart College I took a gap year before sitting the University Clinical Aptitude Test to be accepted into the medicine course, which I passed.

“Mum is a pathologist and that’s possibly where my interest in healthcare developed from.

I’m quite scientific-minded and also people-focused so medicine allows these two interests to come together.

Rahul applied to “pretty much every university with an undergraduate medical degree in Australia” but found it an easy decision to remain in Hobart.

The medical science precinct where we study is well-equipped with all the necessary equipment for practical work, including plenty of models and specimens.

“There are 105 students in my cohort and we are very supportive of each other.”

Medicine students undertake Professional Experience Placement (PEP) to enable them to implement their knowledge in a supervised workplace environment and gain a better understanding of the professional healthcare culture within Australia. For Rahul, this experience has cemented his desire to become a doctor.

My general practice placement was at Geeveston, near Hobart, and I found it reassuring and rewarding to draw upon what I’d learnt in my first two years of study and utilise this knowledge to assist with patient history-taking and examination.

“There’s a real sense of achievement in recognising that you can help someone and know what you’re learning is applicable.”

In 2017, Rahul became an Australian citizen. He is set to graduate in 2021 and while he’s yet to decide what area of medicine he’ll specialise in, he says he’s definitely planning to remain in Australia long-term.

Find out more about studying Medicine with the University of Tasmania here.