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Carolina at her graduation smiling whilst talking to two other women


Student at ORA's International Study Centre, Oxford, 2016

  • Course type

    Course: Medicine Gap Year Course

  • Location

    From: Qatar

  • Age

    Age: 18 years old

Highlights from Carolina’s experience

  • Attended Oxford Royale Academy’s Oxford Gap Year in Oxford in order to focus on her Medicine UK university application
  • Received offers from all of the universities she applied to
  • Now studies Medicine at the University of Manchester

“I found the ORA gap year course online, saved the link as ‘life saving course.’ What I needed the most was help with my UCAS application, but I also wanted to challenge myself intellectually and learn new things.”

My experience with Oxford Royale Summer Schools went far beyond what I expected when I applied: I had finished the IB and had received 4 rejections from my first application to medical school. My plan was to study Medical Science and reapply as a graduate, but I was not very happy about this because I was sure that medicine was something I wanted to do. I found the ORA gap year course online, saved the link as ‘life saving course’, and after speaking with ORA staff through skype, I had the confidence to follow my wishes and took a gap year instead.

I guess what made this course so great is that it fulfilled all the criteria that I wanted to achieve in a gap year, except maybe that it ended too soon. What I needed the most was help with my UCAS application, but I also wanted to challenge myself intellectually and learn new things. That’s what the first phase was about: learning new concepts and deepening familiar ones. ORA’s teaching style is very individual as classes are small, so lessons were more interactive than what I had experienced in school. This part was very important as it kept me motivated and confirmed my interest in health sciences, as well as improving my knowledge and critical skills. The second phase of the course, the thesis, was a real challenge but also a real pleasure. This is the moment where you not only have to take in new information, but also turn it into your own work, with your own ideas and words. Mostly, you will learn to organise and plan a large-scale project on your own but with enough support. It was very special to be given the opportunity to work on a project such as this so young, and it will fill you with pride when you finish, because you can see and hold all you effort in your hands.

Aside from academic work, there were many other goals I achieved with ORA. I was set on learning to be independent because I have always been a little pampered! At ORA there is a smooth transition between the comfort of being at home and living independently. Although you do have to use your own initiative to find lectures to attend and people to talk to for your thesis, you know you always have someone at the close by to help. This experience gave me the confidence to lead my own life without it seeming like such a drastic change.

Don’t you worry, however, ORA is not all about work and responsibilities! We became a little family and enjoyed our many trips around Oxford and England as well as our movie nights, fancy dinners, and meeting the new students who came in almost every week. It was a chance to build close relationships, and keep in contact with the people I met during this time. This was possibly the most important aspect, because it turned the Manor into a home.

After I returned home from ORA, I was called for interviews for all my four medical school choices and continued to get support from ORA tutors through Skype for practice. Learning to be independent came in handy when I visited England for my interview, and the academic help I received was invaluable! In comparison to my experience the previous year, I was prepared, confident, professional and successful. With good advice and practice, I was accepted into all of my universities and got to choose my first choice: the University of Manchester.

Although I went to ORA with the goal of being independent, I know it is thanks to every single person there, most of all the academic and social coordinators, that I was able to get as far as I did. I will be forever thankful and proud to have been part of the ORA family.

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