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The 2014/15 Premier League was not a great year to be an Arsenal fan, especially when one of your students is an enthusiastic Chelsea supporter. Fortunately, that Chelsea fan was Ali Rifai from Jordan – (pictured above -at the back) – the last in a line of Rifai brothers to pass through DIFC on their way to study Medicine at RCSI Dublin. Although he could have gloated much more than he actually did, Ali is a gentleman and never gave his teacher too much of a hard time (the same can not be said of this Arsenal supporting teacher who gloated mercilessly the following year when Chelsea slumped).

Ali did exceptionally well on the International Foundation Year – Health and Science programme offered at DIFC, scoring all As. He worked hard throughout the year and is continuing that hard work into his second year at Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland (RCSI Dublin).

In his first year, he was elected class representative – a role he also performed with distinction whilst in DIFC.

Now that both Chelsea and Arsenal are on a stable footing (with Arsenal likely to win the league this year), I thought it would be a good idea to get in touch with Ali and see how he is getting on.

Where are you studying now Ali?

I’m currently doing my junior cycle Medicine in RCSI.

How have you been getting on with your studies?

It gets more challenging & more interesting every year. The atmosphere is great and exciting as the years go on. I also have to thank DIFC for providing me with the stepping stone and the necessary skills that enabled me to reach this stage in my academic journey.

What has been the biggest learning curve for you?

The biggest learning curve in my opinion is coping with the demanding schedules and professionalism they expect from you from day 1. Especially coming from a different background with totally different expectations, it is tricky to manage at the start but RCSI have a great team in place to provide all the necessary help needed by anyone at any time.

What advice would you give to those people hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Work, work, and more work. Set a goal and you will achieve it. Asking for help from friends, colleagues or even educators is essential to achieve anything. Nobody can do it on their own – use as much resources as possible. Take the good – leave the bad. Time management is key, knowing when and how to plan for things in advance is really critical at this stage. It is also necessary to have fun and enjoy your time but it is also necessary to learn to say the word “ NO “ from time to time.

What do you miss about DIFC?

Simply Mr. Stephen Walsh’s classes. Though I still hate maths!


To find out more about DIFC’s International Foundation Year – Health & Science pathway to Medicine, visit our course information guide.


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