Jumeirah College alumna Rhea Raj was awarded the Middle East Merit Scholarship from St George’s University in Grenada as part of the GEMS UniConnect programme
How are you getting on at St George’s University? What have been the highlights so far?
Being almost 7,500 miles away from home, it took me a while to find my ground at St George’s University (SGU). I feel like I’ve finally settled in and I’m grateful to be surrounded by the most amazing people. The student body at SGU is diverse, making my university experience exciting and inspiring.
Recently, I was elected to be on the Executive Board of InciSioN Grenada as the Director of Advocacy. InciSioN (International Student Surgical Network) is a non-profit organisation that aims to discuss and come up with creative solutions to surgical problems faced in low-resource environments. Here in Grenada, InciSioN aims to give back to the community by organising fundraising events to support locals who need surgery. As the Director of Advocacy, my goal this term is to raise awareness about the current state of healthcare in Grenada and assess possible options to integrate safer surgical care in local hospitals.
Last semester, I achieved a 4.00 GPA, which earned me a place on the Chancellor’s List. I’m also a Biochemistry Teaching Assistant for the Preclinical programme. I completed a Stop the Bleed course that taught me how to recognise and control life-threatening bleeding in emergency situations – an essential skill for healthcare professionals.
What are your aspirations for the future – what do you hope to achieve after graduation?
After graduating medical school, I aspire to become a Cardiothoracic surgeon in the US. I also hope to achieve all the skills needed to be a successful healthcare professional. To me, the duties of a doctor are not confined by the principles of science but extend to physical and emotional resilience and an altruistic desire to care for people.
What difference has your scholarship made?
My scholarship has had a big impact on me as it motivates me to always do my best. I am thankful to St George’s University for recognising my merit and giving me an opportunity to fulfil my dream.
What role did Jumeirah College play in your successes and achievements thus far?
Jumeirah College (JC) has played a huge role in my achievements by always pushing me to strive for excellence. I am especially grateful to all my science and maths teachers at JC who believed in me and taught me essential concepts that I still use at university. I am also thankful to my parents who have always supported me and inspired me to realise my full potential. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
Any tips for fellow students who want to study medicine?
My number one tip for anyone considering medicine would be to start early. I did a lot of hospital work experience and volunteering in Years 10 and 11, which helped me decide early on that medicine was the right choice for me. I also set up my school’s first medical publication with a small group of students, allowing me to work in a team and develop my interpersonal skills. I think for anyone considering a career in medicine, it’s important to realise that it is a life-long commitment and the learning never stops!
Sebastian Courage, Director, Middle East and North Africa at St George’s Uni, shares his thoughts on Rhea and her scholarship at the Caribbean and UK-based institution
What were the reasons behind Rhea’s Middle East Merit Scholarship award?
When I first met her at Jumeirah College with her mother and started asking her about why she wanted to be a doctor, her answers really resonated with me. She was calm and confident in her answers. I was already told by her councillor, Amanda Jewel, that her grades were predicted to be A*, so it was a combination of her desire to help others as well as her academic excellence.
What can students expect from a St George’s University education?
We turn great students into amazing doctors. Students can expect to be nurtured and trained by the top physicians in medical education. Our class sizes are about 8-1, so the quality of the education is of the highest standard.
This is why 94 per cent of our international students obtain residency straight after graduation for the US, UK, Canada or 50 other countries worldwide.
What further scholarships will you be making available to GEMS Education students?
Every GEMS student who is accepted into St George’s University, whether it is in Grenada or the UK, will get a scholarship.