Six years ago I arrived in Belarus, not knowing a single word of Russian, away from my family and away from everything that had been home to me for twenty-one years of my life. It started with excitement – I was getting acquainted with a new culture, learning a new language and fulfilling my dream of studying medicine.
But soon the excitement was replaced by the stress of all the hard work and self-preparation that was required on a daily basis. And that served as a reminder that the profession that we were training for was not an easy one. It was a profession that required constant diligence and commitment. Just like soldiers form the line of defense in the battle against an enemy, so too we as doctors form the line of defense in humanity’s battle against death. Therefore, like soldiers our training too should focus on self-discipline and a strict abiding of rules.
At VSMU this was the kind of training we received. An example that comes to mind is the strict rules about attending classes on time. Sri Lankans in general are known for their tardiness, so much so that it is a common joke that Sri Lankan events always start one hour late. But the strict rules of VSMU forced us to change our habits and attend classes on time, because no one wanted to pay and rework classes.
Now at the end of this six year long journey, while I’m excited to graduate and further my career in medicine, a part of me does not want this journey to end. During these years I have learned from some of the best professors and teachers, who not only taught medicine but also offered a lot of insight about life as a medical professional. I have been guided by the path paved by the past students of VSMU. And I also had the privilege of closely working with the amazing staff of the foreign faculty dean’s office, and was also there to witness the foreign faculty win the award for “Best faculty”. These are memories that will last me a lifetime.
I would like to congratulate my fellow graduates, who have walked through this journey together with me. I’m proud of each and every one of you. I would not have been able to survive these six years if not for the strong friendships I built within our batch. Six years ago, I came here as a person who believed I could survive alone by myself. But within these six years, I have learned that survival is group effort. Like Rudyard Kipling said: “The strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.”
Even though we may leave this place, and go our different ways, we would always be connected through the beautiful memories we have shared together, here in our alma mater – VSMU!
Xavier Chrisjit Samjeevan Graduate of the of the faculty of overseas students training (6 course 68 group)