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Well, Summer is well and truly done now. It almost feels like a distant memory now that I’m back in Medical school for the past month. However, this would probably be one of my most memorable Summers in years.

The Summer kicked off with the celebration of both my cousin and brother graduating from RCSI Dublin – you can read my blog about it here. The whole family came over and celebrations carried on for a full week.

After the RCSI Conferring, I went to London for a week. This was basically a foodie trip – we explored new and exciting food markets everyday, dined at different restaurants each night and really just sampled the culinary delights an international city such as London has to offer. By the end of the week, our bank accounts were crying but it was totally worth it!

Then, I went back to Saudi, which is where I consider my home. I had a wonderful time catching up with high school friends again and enjoying all the good home-cooked meals I used to enjoy growing up. There’s nothing like food from home! However, as an RCSI student, it doesn’t take long for the ‘itch’ to set in. A couple of weeks of downtime and I was looking for my next challenge – that hunger for work takes hold and you need to start doing something! So, I successfully applied for a 4 week internship in the International Medical Centre in Jeddah.

During my internship, I had 10-hour shifts in the GP and Nursing departments, where I got to observe how things run in a busy hospital. I was also shown how to take the basic vitals needed for each patient. This experience was a great way to start transferring the theoretical knowledge I’ve been learning in RCSI to a practical setting and it made me even more excited for the time I will get to do my first clinical placement. Although not completely medical related, one of the crucial lessons I learned was having your car parked under the sun of the Saudi Summer for 8 hours a day is not the smartest of decisions 😛

Finally, it was off to Amman, Jordan – where a whole other part of my family awaits. I was tempted to do some internships in Amman to get more experience, but my cousins were having way too much fun for me to miss out! As I don’t get to see my family that much, I felt it was better for me to make the most of it and spend as much time with them as possible. So, my visit in Amman was spent with family visits everyday – which, of course means food, food and even more food.

We even took time to do a full day hike in the Mujib Nature Reserve canyon, which lies just beside the dead sea. Those who know me well would understand that I am by no means a ‘hiker’ – I still can’t work out how they convinced me to do it. However, it was absolutely amazing and I saw a side to Jordan that I had never seen before. Honestly, the amount of times we were close to a “near death experience” was astonishing to a point where it actually became normal!

Although I was away from Ireland during the Summer, I was never too far away. There were weekly 3am Skype meetings with my friends as our team won the RCSI Student Union elections! As our team members came from all different countries, thus the timing of the Skype call at a rather unusual time. However, with these Skype calls we managed to plan out all we want to achieve in the new academic year for the Student Union – so exciting times ahead.

So now, it’s reading week at RCSI. A little time to regroup on the classes over the past month and get ready for finals at this point as they are only a month away. A bit of travel wouldn’t have been bad, but sometimes one has to stick around and sit down and do some good old studying while everyone is somewhere else. I have been fortunate enough to be in such a position in my life and one can only look forward. Progress is key.


Written by Ali Rifai

DIFC Student Ambassador
Currently studying Medicine at Royal College of Surgeons Ireland


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