Your calling in life is always there. It always finds a way to guide you. It’s not always obvious, and sometimes it seems to have disappeared, but it it’s always there, somewhere, regardless of how far you drift away from it. The story of Sashmita Rijal, a Medicine student at CEU UCH, starts at four years of age but started 7,628.02 km away.
“My grandfather was a specialist in obstetrics in Nepal,” she recalls in one of the Health Sciences laboratories, “I have been surrounded by that environment and those stories all my life.” Before she took up residence in Canada, she was able to see her grandfather working a lot. “My grandfather helped impoverished people, and gave them a future which they did not have guaranteed,” she says.
Europe is not Nepal, it’s not even Canada: “I love how you support each other, as everyone is interested in how you can help the person next to you”.
How does that character translate into the education you receive here?
It is much more personal. I can send an email to a teacher if I need to clarify any doubts. That personal attention that we receive today is something we will be able to put into practice in the future when we are professionals. It’s about taking care of our patients with that closeness, so that they feel like people and not a number.
The example of your grandfather is very inspiring.
Totally, he was my inspiration; his work, what he used to tell me, what I was able to see once myself in the centre where he worked – that explains why I am a medical student today.
Do you think that you will head towards specialising in the field of obstetrics?
It’s one of the two options I have right now. I am also attracted to the field of Mental Health. I think there is still a long way to go and a lot to explore. I think I could have something to contribute if I finally opted for Psychiatry.
Nepal, Canada … with this perspective on life, how do you approach the idea of studying on a campus with 70 different nationalities?
Studying at a university with so many international students is like having the world at your feet. If I want to improve my German, I can do so with my friend Sara; if I want to know more about the culture of Africa, I have classmates from that continent who explain it to me. Of course, getting to know Spain better and the culture of Valencia is something else which stimulates the mind. Being able to choose the best aspects of each culture is a great opportunity.
It is also about leaving your comfort zone.
We are future doctors! We are going to face situations that have nothing to do with anything we have seen before. Studying in another country is a unique experience. They are not just words; they are your actions, your everyday decisions, and seeing how your personality adapts and is enriched with each experience.