>>> Written and provided by Rebecca Chinapiel

As a childhood ambition and because of my strong curiosity for Science and disease, along with a good caring personality, I decided to choose to study Medicine after I completed my Higher School Certificate (HSC) in the year 2006. That time I had a choice between UK, USA or France to persue my study, and because I was told that after 3 years of studies I would be counted as a home student and pays the home fees not the international fees of  £ 10950 per year, so I finally decided to go to the UK through OVEC agency and first do my BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science for 3 years paying a fees of £10950 and then I would enter the 4 year Graduate entry tract Medicine (GETM) paying the fees of about £4000 per year as home student, without forgetting the visa procedures hurdles that many encounters before reaching the UK and that time I was granted a 3 years visa only.

After getting my degree in Biomedical Science in July 2009 and also having passed with excellent points the UKCAT, I was accepted by some of the Medical universities  to do the GETM but unfortunately the new tuition fees were reviewed, and we would not be class as home even after 3 years spent in the UK. I was very disappointed because suddenly I have felt that all my desire and hope to become a doctor would fail since I knew that it would be very hard for my parents to pay a tuition fees of about £ 30 000 per year for the Medicine course and also to get the visa would be very difficult as I should show the whole lot of money that is 4 times £ 30 000 in one go in my bank account along with accommodation and livings fees. It was not only about the fees but also we were not guarantee we would get a place to even do internship despite studying medicine there as we would be classified as band 4 under immigration rule.

I return back to Mauritius in December 2009 and my parents told me to try and see other university like South Africa, Russia, and France where the tuition fees is lower and apply as a  transfer student would be easier. All the doors were closed because in Africa the deadline for the entrance exams go to South Africa had surpassed. In France I would have to start from cycle 1 and my mother was not willing that I go Russia due to recent incidents of Racism and killing of foreigners in Russia. Everywhere the door was close for me, and I had taken 1 year of my life in trying to look for an opportunity to complete my medical course in a prestigious university.

In December 2010, my sister has told me try to look for China and this might be a good opportunity for me since lots of Mauritian are studying Medicine there. So, I had surf for many medical universities that would teach in English medium and I came across an agent named ‘Master U’ that sent students from Mauritius to China. After I have emailed the agency telling them that I do not intend to enter the 1st year of Medicine because I already hold a degree in Science and that I would like to be transfer into either 2nd or 3rd year directly since I have already done many of the modules, they have immediately called me for and appointment immediately.

‘Master U’ told me that I was accepted to FujianMedicalUniversity to start 2nd year 2nd semester starting in February 2011. I was so happy knowing that my dream to become a doctor will soon be accomplished. I was told by the agency that I need to make an immediate payment of €800 to secure my place which I did out of happiness and joy that I have been accepted in a MedicalUniversity. To add with, I was also given the course structure along with the fees payment which have accounted to about 160 000 Yuan for 3.5 years without accommodation fees.

When I was checking the fees structure that Master U has given me, I have found something very strange and was quite fraudulent, because it was mention that I have a fees of 50 000 Yuan that I should pay for USMLE and that its compulsory else I would not be admitted to Fujian Medical University.

I knew very clearly that USMLE is an independent body and that it is regulated by the US medical council, not China and this can’t be a compulsory set by FujianMedicalUniversity. So, I decided to contact the university myself, and a lady at the administration had emailed me the fees structure that I am supposed to pay and also I was told that the USMLE supposedly part of the programme according to MASTER U is not included.

I was very surprised and very shocked, because I was embezzled for money by MASTER U and this is very fraudulent, so I decided to tell Master U that they are not operating lawfully and would like to get my money back and that I would apply to Fujian Medical University directly an through them.

Master U was not willing to return my money and they told me that this is the only university in China that would accept me as a transfer student, and that I can’t get admitted nowhere. Moreover they told me that the only option to get to FujianUniversity is through them and that I am obliged to pay the fees for the USMLE.

My parents had agreed but I did not at all to go to Fujian by this agency, because I have seen how they are operating very fraudulently. I had some friends who were studying in WenzhouMedicalCollege, and they have told me that they have also use Master U and that this agency has stolen their money through a fake USMLE course.

Master u was not willing to return me back my money but I had told the agency that I will sue them if they don’t return. Because of the fear that the agency name would tarnish if I pursue them, they returned my money back. Even though I got all the money back, my dreams were shattered because my willing to become a doctor and the road to it is closing and also time was passing.

Having the support of my parents and sisters, they told me why not trying OVEC, the first agency I have applied to study in the UK. OVEC has processed my application and I accepted to study Medicine at 2nd year 2nd semester at NanjingMedicalUniversity. God grace has shower on me and I was exempted for many modules. OVEC operated very fairly with no upfront fees and no fraudulent operation.

In March 2011, I arrived in China to pursue my studies. From my first day till now, I admit that I never felt homesick as I was when I was studying in the UK. Chinese people are very welcoming and well cultured and respectful.

Back at NanjingMedicalUniversity, student life began and the teachers and administrative staff were very helpful for orientation and all any other procedures like Visa, Health Insurance and accommodation.

One thing that I was worrying about was the food but when I had try them they were so yummy and my favorite food here is ‘’ da pan ji’’. Every thing was just perfect for me, fashion clothes, shoes lifestyle and if I have to compare it with Europe I would say China is the BEST.

Going back to study, I have to admit that the classroom was not totally like a lecture room, it looked more like a school classroom but with time everybody gets along with it. For study material, the books were not as good as the one I used in the UK as the translation was literal but with the teacher’s notes on power point presentation and surfing online for more notes was very helpful.

The teachers quality of teaching are very good here at Nanjing Medical University and It was an honor to have lectures with many professors and even with our Vice- Dean, because in the UK this is not possible or very rare. Moreover the passing marks is 60% and here they are very strict about have to do a make up or restudy is anyone gets 59%, which is very good because it motivates us to keep up and study very hard to achieve our goal. When I try to compare the pass mark of 60% in China to that of UK which is 40 %, I think here in China it is the best, and make us become a pro in any modules of the Medical course.

Exams are very tough here, but it is not a bad thing, as it prepares us to become the best doctor and one day to provide the best care to our patient. The only problem which I think we have is that we don’t get a break before exams like a 2 weeks break beforehand. We might have lectures even on the eve of exams and sometimes its not helpful at all to concentrate as it is compulsory here to attend all lectures since attendance counts a lot here. One things for sure and certain parents shall not worry about is about whether or no their children attend lectures or not, because here at our university absence of 20 will get us serious warnings and parents are kept aware about any absence from lectures by our University through OVEC. I think this is very good way to prepare us to become very discipline when we undertake our career as a doctor, because when I try to compare it with UK university, it is the student’s own responsibility of whether he or she want to attend lectures or not and the university there won’t react to it. Also, I believe here the teachers are more interactive and always at your disposal for any help which shows how caring and successful they want us to be. The practical class that we have here is very helpful as we get to go to many hospitals and see my cases with nearly all disease with the fact that China is a very big countries and liability of getting much diagnosis of many different illnesses.

Not to forget the graceful scholarship that we get from the government and also from our university and I admit this motivates us to study very hard and the money we get from the Government and the university really help us if we are in financial problems.

The university building is well built here and living at campus here in the dormitory is very safe and sound and does not necessitate living outside as the university well caters for us the International students especially for winter with all excellent facilities of water and electricity. The living cost is very cheap here, and students live very out of stress with no money problem when compare to Europe. The food is very good, even shopping for everything is very affordable here. Life is very peaceful for me here in China and this is the best place to be not only for study but for shopping, holiday etc.

I am given the choice of country I would say I prefer China to UK and any other countries that I have been. Among all other countries I have been, I have never seen other countries as welcoming as Chinese people with. I only regret that I have known China a bit late, and I should have come here directly in the year 2006 after I completed my HSC. But am sure not late for other, and as much as I can I keep encouraging many other students to come and study here in China, not only my Mauritian friends but also from UK and France.