Completing a medical degree is challenging enough as it is. Add on top of it living for 12 months in a new community thousands of kilometres from home, it takes a dedicated and passionate person to see it through.
St Vincents Private Hospital has been hosting three new students in its rotations since July. University of Wollongong medical students Maryrose McCue from the USA, Brydie Willburger from the Illawarra and Brianne Larson from Canada, are currently undertaking their third year medical placement in Griffith and are enjoying being a part of the community.
"It's a really nice town here and the people are really friendly," Mrs McCue said.
"I'd heard really good things about this placement in particular so it was my first choice to come here.
"I'm really happy with the location and curriculum and structure that they have here." Mrs McCue said talking about the program.
It's a full on year in the program. Students rotate between several of Griffith's medical practices participating in the UOW medical program on top of participating in a number of speciality placements in Paediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynaecological and in Surgical/Theatre.
"I think the opportunity here is really unique because this is our first long term placement," Ms Larson said.
"We are here for a full year so we really get to lay down some ground soil and meet people and keep that continuity of care with some of our patients."
Taking advantage of Griffith's sporting scene, nature and keeping a routine of exercise is a must for the students who balance a tight schedule of placement hours and study.
"We start seeing patients around nine 'o' clock and finish around four thirty," Ms Larson said.
"We come home, see if we can get some exercise in and then dinner and study."
The students each come from a unique background that led them to study medicine: Mrs McCue from nursing, Ms Larson, biochemistry and Ms Willburger from psychology. Mrs McCue has a particular interest in pursuing a long term career in rural medicine.
"My husband is currently a rural GP based in Victoria and I'm also planning on being a rural GP," Mrs McCue said.