Vanida started her medical studies at EDU in autumn 2019. The 26-year-old already has a lot of professional experience under her belt. She studied mechanical engineering in the US and completed her training as a nurse. In the first part of our big interview, Vanida explains what she missed while working as a nurse and why she was determined to study digitally.
EDU: Vanida, why do you want to be a doctor?
Vanida: Actually, I have been wanting to be a doctor since my father became seriously ill with chronic diseases when I was a child. Of course, when I was a child, I had no idea what a long journey I had ahead of me. In the US, you complete an undergraduate bachelor’s degree before you start studying medicine. I did my degree in nursing, i.e. in healthcare and nursing.
EDU: Why did you not stick with it?
Vanida: For me, the professional field of healthcare and nursing is a beautiful vocation. But the process of healing has a therapeutic-medical aspect, which I cannot actively influence as a healthcare worker and nurse. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying: Nursing sciences are just as evidence-based as medicine. But my interest lies more in the field of surgical application. I would like to operate.
EDU: What is it about medicine that is so fascinating to you?
Vanida: I can spend hours working with machines or motors. I can also read up on legal topics and continue my education. Mechanical engineering, law or psychology are areas that I can pursue in my free time without formally studying them. But try to perform an emergency operation on the kitchen table in your free time. That is only possible with proper medical training and at the appropriate place, namely in a hospital.
EDU: How did you hear about EDU?
Vanida: From a work colleague. He said: ‘I cannot imagine this study programme for anyone as well as for you. Why don’t you just do that?’ So I gathered some information and connected with Felix (click here for the interview with Felix) at EDU. Then I visited a Virtual Open Day (click here to register for the next Virtual Open Day) and, finally, I applied.
EDU: After you had gathered all the information, what tipped the scales?
Vanida: I have family in the US and here in Germany. My dad lives in England, my mother’s family is from Thailand. I go to the island regularly to be with them. If you pursue a traditional study programme in Germany or in the US, it is simply not possible to travel as much as I do now. This way, I can be with my dad anytime if he is not feeling well. All I need is my laptop and a decent internet connection, and I can study anytime and anywhere.
EDU: What other aspects of the study programme do you like?
Vanida: On the one hand, it is the independent and self-reliant learning and the regular clinical rotations. It is great when you can put your theoretical knowledge to the test in practice. Besides, student groups at EDU are simply much, much smaller. Anyone who has ever studied at a university knows that sitting in a lecture hall with 150 or 200 other students and listening attentively is difficult, because there is always whispering, always sounds coming from somewhere. The experience is also never particularly personal, you are just one of 200. With us it is different. Nobody goes unnoticed, everyone has the chance to ask comprehension questions, and our relationship to the tutors who teach the material is much more personal.
EDU: How would you describe your experience studying on a Digital Campus?
Vanida: Of course you have to get used to the digital environment: before the first clinical rotation, you only know your fellow students through video interactions and not really personally. But somehow it feels as if we have known each other for a long time to me, simply because we see each other online every day. I would say that my fellow students make up 90 percent of my social contacts at this point. Even if you are sick, you can still attend classes.
EDU: In Germany, we notoriously struggle with bandwidth issues. What about you?
Vanida: Here in the country I have 5G via the phone network. That works perfectly. If there is a problem, for example because of a storm, my fellow students can help out.