Det er ikke bare bare å begynne på medisinstudiet….

July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

The first half of the above phrase is a saying in Norwegian. I remember hearing it when I was first learning the language and having no clue what it meant, even after it was explained to me. As my understanding of the language and culture grew, I was finally able to incorporate several Norwegian sayings into daily conversations. Each successful delivery was followed by an imaginary one of these:

But the “det er ikke bare bare” phrase eluded me. I have yet to find an equivalent of this phrase in the English language. Directly translated it means “it isn’t only only” – which obviously makes no sense. The best English translation is “it is not necessarily very easy”. I don’t find that this translation does the phrase any justice. It doesn’t capture the quirky irony of the situation the phrase refers to. And in this specific case, I am referring to the starting medical school.

Just starting medical school is a feat in itself. You are constantly thinking about the impending study load and mental challenges. You are making a huge commitment and it requires that you trust yourself, that you are positive that this is what you want to do. On top of that, we are moving to a country with a culture different from any I have experienced before. I can prepare myself all I want by reading forums and blogs online, but nothing is going to completely prepare me. I honestly feel like the simple act of starting school this fall, including the move, is sufficiently worrisome. But hasn’t been, and isn’t going to be, so easy. I don’t know if I will feel secure about any of this until we are into our second week, if not month, of school.

Skjalg has a blog of his own. He hasn’t written too many posts yet, but will be writing more as the year starts. He did, however, write about post about the main struggle to which I am referring to (this can be read here). I’ve written about this same issue before, in my This too shall pass post. Essentially, Skjalg doesn’t know which school he is going to yet. In March, he was accepted at all three medical schools. The three schools have slightly different standards when it comes to satisfying the general education requirement – and Semmelweis is the toughest one in this case. Skjalg completed a year of an accelerated engineering program instead of attending the normal 3 years of high school. He satisfies the general education requirement in Norway through the 23+5 rule (which means that he is older than 23 and has 5 years of practical experience: either work, school, or military). Pécs accepts this rule, but Semmelweis is unclear about whether they do or not. July is vacation month in Norway, so trying to get ahold of people is challenging to say the least. (I should also point out that Norwegians are required to take 5 weeks of vacation a year, so in July they usually take the entire month off).  On Monday Skjalg was finally able to get ahold of our contact person at the school hosting our applications. She told Skjalg that he has to get a 100% answer from the school, and then told of a story in which several students in Slovakia were kicked out during their 5th year of medical school when it was found that they hadn’t met the general education requirements when they applied. She followed up with some good news, that Skjalg had been re-accepted to Pécs.

So, Skjalg is leaving next Tuesday for Budapest. The trip’s original purpose was to find an apartment, but now he must also get a firm confirmation from Semmelweis. In order to plead his case, he is going to bring some extra supplementation: confirmation from the accelerated program he completed that he “has achieved general university admissions certification” as well as proof that he can be accepted to a university in Norway and proof of his 5 years of practical experience. If they say OK, then everything will continue as planned and we will both be going to Semmelweis. If they say no, well, then, he is going to Pécs and I will have to make a big decision of my own.

I don’t mind challenges, and it could even be said that I like them…but I have to say that it is a lot nicer looking back at them than being right smack dab in the middle of them. He won’t have an answer until next Wednesday and until then, we just have to keep preparing as we have been.

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