UQ School of Medicine consultations… and other adventures

I just returned from a mini whirlwind with one of my favorite people in international education: Dr. Jenny Schafer, Director of Student Affairs at the UQ School of Medicine.

Dr. Schafer was recently in Canada for the second of her twice-annual visits and, as is becoming very usual, we all had a blast—students included.

UQ School of Medicine consultations... and other adventures
Dr Schafer about to enjoy… a cricket

First up was a stop in Vancouver where she met with a few dozen students at Simon Fraser University. I can’t lie; I wasn’t there but I have heard that it was a great time and questions needed to be cut off after two solid hours. I think that’s a good sign!

I picked Dr. Schafer up in Toronto where we were hosting the University of Toronto Pre-Med Society for a Q&A about studying medicine abroad. Before that event though, we needed some grub.

Dr. Schafer is a foodie and likes some good eats. In a city with some of the best restaurants, I’m always on the hunt for something a little different. With a surprising 22-degree October evening, I was banking on a patio, so we headed to El Catrin in the Distillery District. Looking for different, nestled among the tacos, charred corn and smoke-infused avocado sauce were… crickets. Like, crickets. How could we not, right? Well, we did, and while they didn’t taste like chicken, I’d argue they didn’t taste like much. Totally worth the few bucks to now know that I don’t necessary need to eat crickets again.

Following dinner—and the Jays’ ultimate demise—the weather took a turn and we got back into the regular October weather we’d expect forcing the switch out of flip flops. Neither of us had the appropriate clothing for the weather.

UQ School of Medicine consultations... and other adventures
OzTREKK Director Jaime Notman and her not-chicken nacho topping

The following evening the UofT Pre-Med Society hosted about 50 students where we to learned more about the UQ School of Medicine, about Dr. Schafer’s field of study, and her suggestions for success. Dr. Iqbal Jaffer (UQ MBBS ’09) joined her for a student-focused Q&A, which was incredible. Currently doing his residency in cardiac surgery at McMaster, Dr. Jaffer had the students peppering him with questions about his experience in Australia, his return to Canada, and his current practice. I should also say he’s currently in the final throes of completing his PhD, which is being defended early in 2017! We had to cull the questions just before 9 p.m. as the cleaning staff was waiting to get home.

I am obviously biased, but it was really great to have such an interactive experience for our future students. Hearing what it’s really like is so invaluable and I’m sure that everyone in attendance felt similarly. We had some students who are leaving in a few short weeks and most in their final (some in their first!) year all eager to understand if this experience is for them. I’m very excited to see their decision!  I’d love to hear if any students found it as interesting as I did!

After UofT it was a quick trip to meet with the Queen’s Medicine team (UQ and Queen’s have a long-standing and exiting partnership if you didn’t know!) where the goodbyes took place and Dr. Schafer headed back to the Brisbane springtime.

Jaime Notman, OzTREKK Director / Operations Manager

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