Studying medicine

Studying medicine is something I have been dreaming about since I was a kid. At the age of 10, I was so sure that I would become a doctor.

However, 11 years later, I would be graduating in Economics.

I changed my mind when I was 13/14. I thought it would be cool to deal with numbers, to understand how the economic system works, how countries trade goods and services, how they calculate GDP, in addition, to all those weird indexes that you see on TV and nobody can explain to you what those numbers really mean. 

My biggest concern was maths. I was never bad at it, but not brilliant either. It scared me all the time though. It was the only test that I could never prepare myself 100% for because it’s all about the problems that come up on the exam. 

Despite being close to having a heart attack whenever I had a maths exam, I made my way into the University of Porto (Faculty of Economics), a place where plenty of mathematics was awaiting me. Isn’t ironic? 

Seven years have passed since I enrolled in Economics and throughout my entire path, something has been pounding in the back of my head. ‘Medicine. You could be studying medicine instead. You would be halfway to become a doctor now that you are graduating in economics. You still have time to change it.’

I had my reasons to ignore these thoughts. Upon graduation, my desire to become economically independent and leave Portugal grew bigger. That would be my priority. It took me one year to jump into the dark and take a leap of faith. 

From the start of my journey in Oslo, the ‘studying medicine bug‘ grew bigger as well. The thought has been pounding harder and harder. It became so uncomfortable that led me to talk to other people about it. Since 2011 I have met several medical students and talked to them about studying medicine. Here are some of their comments:

– What are you afraid of? 
– Isn’t obvious that you want to be a doctor? Look at you talking about it all excited!
– You are already so motivated!
– I can feel it. You want this really bad. What are you waiting for?
– A simple question: what else do you see yourself doing for a living?

Yes. I was always very excited about it. I’d love giving it a shot. However, 2013 was a year of struggling.  

‘6 years of study. No science background at all. In 6 years I’ll be in my 30’s. In 6 years things might change and I’ll be no longer guaranteed a job. In 6 years I’ll have to pay back a significant amount of money to whoever loans it to me. In 6 years… So much can happen! Am I willing to sacrifice 6 years of my life in order to become a doctor? Am I willing to move to another country in order to do it?’

Surprisingly the year 2014 came with a refreshing wave of clean energy.

‘Look at you thinking about it all the time. Imagine yourself in 20 years, regretting not even trying. Who the heck is guaranteed a job nowadays anyway? Not a doctor, not an economist, not an engineer. Perhaps a football player. Especially a great one. And so will the great doctor, the great economist and the great engineer. In 6 years the world will keep needing doctors, economists, engineers, and football players. Especially the great ones. 
Just aim high, and high you’ll get. And always, but always, pay attention to the signs along your way.’.

I am really glad that I left the grey area where I was in 2013. Working in healthcare made me understand that I want to be able to help people on another level. I tried to convince myself that nursing was the right course for me (3 years, OK pay, not as difficult and demanding – the easy way out) but it did not work. Even my boss advised me to do so. She gave me plenty of reasonable arguments to take nursing instead of medicine.

I lost the flame that is a big part of me. All the sudden my idea of the future was perceived as ok and not as exciting anymore. I see what nurses do and it’s not something that blows me away.

Since I am a person who needs to look ahead and see the word exciting, it quickly became clear to me which of the degrees I would have to take. ‘Why not doing something you love rather than something that is ok for you to do? Do not live the life that others want you to live. Live the one you want to live. It’s yours for a reason.’

There are a couple of steps that I have to go through before applying to medical school:

  • Pass the Norwegian language test ‘Bergenstest”;
  • Transfer all my grades from Portugal into the Norwegian system;
  • Learn chemistry and biology (and perhaps physics) on my own. 


The Bergenstest is a Norwegian advanced language test (equivalent to the IELTS or TOEFL for advanced English speakers). It is a requirement for foreign citizens living in Norway when applying to certain jobs (in healthcare for instance), university, etc. 

So before I am eligible to study anything in Norway I must pass the language test first. 

For more information about the requirements, you need to fill in to apply to medicine, check this post out.

Yes, a long way. I know. But I’m ready for it. Ready to go all the way! 

1st-year final exams


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