A Journey to Medicine - From Nigeria to the UK

Updated: Jan 22, 2020

As part of our plans to expand this year, we have decided to share the stories of many Melanin Medics (both doctors and medical students). We believe that it is very important to show that our journeys to Medicine may differ greatly but ultimately the destination remains the same. Through out the year we will be interviewing various Melanin Medics at different stages in their training/ careers, giving them the opportunity to share their personal stories of the steps they took to excel in their careers and get to where they are today. Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Ayowade Adeleye, an international student from Nigeria studying Medicine in the UK.


MM: PLEASE CAN YOU TELL US WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO STUDY MEDICINE?

AA: Medicine was always the first thing I wanted to do, but along the line I diverted a bit and considered other career paths, in the end I came back to my “first love”; as they say “your first answer is often the correct one”. I also knew that I wanted to study something that gave me a balance of science and caring for people (cliché, I know but it is true). As someone who gets bored really easily I knew when choosing my career I needed something that would keep me interested and involved for a long time. I found Medicine intriguing enough to keep me interested for my whole life. Medicine gives a variety of options for my future career path and within my future career path it also provides various opportunities e.g. whilst practising I can explore teaching as well which is what I love.


MM: WHAT OTHER CAREER OPTIONS DID YOU CONSIDER?

AA: I considered engineering but the amount of math and physics in uni scared me away; I also considered Social work but I wanted something a bit more science related. Interestingly, I never considered law or business and I’ve always been quite creative and into graphic design but I preferred it as a hobby rather than full time career. (For those who may not know, she designed the MM logo). So I actually found my way back to medicine by eliminating everything I didn’t want to do.


MM: WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO STUDY ABROAD?

AA: The educational system in Nigeria is heavily based on rote learning e.g. memorisation, learning facts and just basically studying to pass exams. While some people thrive in this system, I knew that I couldn’t maximise my potential in such a system. I wanted a system that was more involved in hands-on learning and acquiring applicable knowledge and that was what the UK system was, particularly Cardiff.


MM: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE UK, SPECIFICALLY?

AA: I considered applying to America and Canada, but in both countries I had to do a primary undergraduate degree before getting into med school. I also considered applying to Eastern Europe, but they offer a traditional course which as I mentioned earlier was not suitable for me. The UK offered the most direct route to medicine as well as the most suitable method of learning for me.


MM: COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY TO STUDYING MEDICINE IN THE UK.

AA: My school in Nigeria was an international school that ran an ‘Early Decision Programme’, to give high achieving students the opportunity to sit the traditional 2 year A-Levels in 1 year. So basically, I started my A-Levels before sitting my O-Levels (GCSE’s) and then continued my A-Levels in August 2014, so I graduated from High School in June 2014 and I sat my AS exams in October/ November 2014 and wrote my A2 exams in May/June 2015. During my A-Levels I applied to UK Medical Schools for the first time, My first application was not successful. I believe this was due to a number of factors; I was 17 at the time (most UK medical schools require you to be 18 before you start the course), I didn’t have enough information about specifically applying to Medical Schools in the UK and I was doing my AS exams at the time so I couldn’t really focus on my application. But I had an offer from the University of Southampton for Audiology and thankfully by the time by A2 results came out, I met the entry requirements. I studied Chemistry, Biology, Physics & Sociology and I achieved 3A’s & 1B and subsequently accepted my offer to the University of Southampton and the plan I had was to do Graduate Entry Medicine