A 5th-year medical student, Bryan, is an Englishman living in Bulgaria. From Russia to Malta, Bryan “looked at the pros and cons, evaluated the language, the challenge and the reputation” of the university. Also, a previous visit to Bulgaria, which made him feel comfortable and in love, helped him to choose Plovdiv as his studying destination.

Even though his mother, his biggest inspiration, had the courage to go back to school to achieve what she is today, a great nurse, Bryan’s story did not start with the usual “I always wanted to be a doctor”.

“I froze! I was completely scared because I did not know what to do”

Gaining knowledge, practicing and building confidence were the three main points for Bryan to work on. After being unable to deal with a bad nose bleeding during his shift as a lifeguard, he realized he did not want to have that feeling again. As a matter of fact, he started by searching for first-aid courses and then working for the local ambulance service.

With time and experience, Bryan fell in love with his job and decided to become a paramedic. Nevertheless, he soon realized that his grades “were not good enough” and that he needed to “go back and redo the basic qualifications”.
His high level of commitment, as he was working and studying at the same time, gave him a boost of motivation and lead him to go “as far” as he could. As a result, today, Bryan is at the Medical University of Plovdiv.

“I do not compete with other people! It is my own journey and It is up to me how and when I jump through the hoops of life”

Bryan highlights confidence and teamwork as the most important characteristics of a medical student. After all, at the end of the day “all that matters is the patient” and “how the knowledge is applied”, he explains.

Being the vehicle for change, and the voice for implementing resuscitation guidelines in Bulgaria, are the two major goals of the non-governmental organization, which Bryan belongs to. By organizing courses, monthly meetings, simulation challenges and providing mentorship to students, the charity group enables “anybody who has a passion to do something in the healthcare area”, to share knowledge and mistakes.

“You have just your hands and you really need to do something. You really need to help people!”

With regards to the future, Bryan doesn’t put any limitations on his dreams. Two of his areas of interest are medical teaching and medical simulation. Building people’s confidence to make a decision, even when “they do not even have a clue”, is one of the advantages of being involved in this type of teaching strategy.

An example of his courage, is Bryan’s interest in disaster medicine. As a result of his experience in Lesbos in the summer of 2018, Greece, Bryan believes that disaster medicine is a “very good reality checker” and “extremely satisfying”, as volunteers “take their knowledge and work in a low-tech environment”.

With regard to where he might work in the future, Bryan believes things are constantly changing and he is not scared of living abroad. Even though, Bryan would love to enjoy England for a while, he does not reject the possibility of going to the US, New Zealand or Australia.