By Kanika Girdhar, Foundation trainee pharmacist
In 2018 I left my family home in Canada to join my elder sister Bhavika and enrol for a pharmacy degree at the University of Sunderland, as she had done.
This was my first time living away from home, so naturally my parents were quite nervous to send me across the Atlantic Ocean to England!
My sister played a big part in this as she was the reason I chose to study at Sunderland. She used to say how much it felt like a home away from home, and I think this helped ease my parents into the idea of me moving here as well.
Studying during the pandemic was challenging, but worth it. It feels incredible to have graduated this year with first class honours and to finally see my hard work pay off.
Pharmacy can be a stressful course to study, but I have my sister to thank for giving me that little bit of insight in terms of knowing what to expect. She has been both my friend and my family and having her here meant I got to experience moving away from home while still having family around me as well. I also had an amazing group of friends, I’m so proud of us all.
I think if you work hard and believe in yourself the course flies by, leaving you with a sense of accomplishment for all we have achieved. I can happily and proudly say it’s been a great four years for me.
This month I’m beginning my foundation training at South Tyneside and Sunderland Foundation Trust and Bhavika is now working at Sunderland Royal Hospital and continuing to study for a MSc. I know my parents are incredibly proud and excited to be able to say that they have two daughters who are graduates, and they always joke about my sister and I making Sunderland our home now.
I feel incredibly prepared and ready for my next steps in this career path and am grateful for the support of lecturers and staff along the way.
We want to encourage voices that express the diversity of lived experiences in the profession as part of our inclusion and diversity work. If you’d like to share your story, contact [email protected] or get involved through our ABCD group.