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Isata Fofanah

Foundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine

A new opportunity

"I worked as a nurse for a number of years before coming to Bradford with my family. I’m originally from the Netherlands and completed a three-year nursing course there but I’ve always wanted to study medicine.

"Although nursing gave me some great medical experience, I’m not from a science background and the opportunity to explore chemistry, biology and some maths, really attracted me to the Foundation Year. It’s also great for people who know they want to explore a healthcare career but aren't sure exactly which direction to go in.

"I was reassured to know that if I didn’t manage to transfer to medicine I’d still be really happy to continue my clinical sciences studies and there would be lots of career opportunities for me after graduation."

My journey to Bradford

"As a mature student, my journey to the University of Bradford was a little different to the norm. As I didn’t have the traditional GCSE and A level grades, I completed an Access to Higher Education course which is very much aimed at students like myself. This then allowed me to apply for the Foundation Year.

"I used The Student Room in my research when originally looking for a course which allowed me to narrow down my choices. It was chatting with students that had already completed the Foundation Year at Bradford that convinced me it was the right place for me.

"I had to attend an interview after I applied. Although this was to see whether the University wanted to offer me a place, it was also a fantastic opportunity for me to get to know Bradford. I was really struck by how friendly everyone was and I had the opportunity to chat with existing students and take a tour. After that, I knew I wanted to come to Bradford and was delighted to receive my offer."

Isata Fofanah, Foundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine
The library was a really important resource for me, not only in terms of the books, journals and other academic texts on offer, but also as a place to go and study. It is really spacious with private and group study areas and it’s another great source of help and advice on things like note taking and academic writing. The staff are really helpful.

Support for me

"I was really pleased with my choice when I first arrived at Bradford. As a mature student, I was a little apprehensive about starting my studies but there were a number of events specifically for older students, which really helped us to get to know the place and meet new people in a similar situation.

"The students on the course were very diverse. It wasn’t just people coming straight from further education. There were lots of other mature students who, like me, didn’t have a science background and were looking for a new career.

"This did pose a challenge though, and I felt like I and my fellow mature students had to work extra hard at the start of the course to develop some of the key knowledge and skills that other students brought with them from their earlier studies.

"I found the best way to overcome these challenges was to ask a lot of questions and I also took advantage of the academic skills sessions that the University offers. These helped me develop my writing, referencing and presentation skills. They also had sessions on time management and organisational skills which I found really useful."

This is where

...I developed as a person

"As a mature student commuting from outside of the city, I was worried that I might struggle to get involved in clubs and activities during my studies. Nevertheless, in my first year I joined the Tai chi Society which I really enjoyed.

"In my second year I joined the Equestrian Society which was another brilliant opportunity. I’ll admit I was pretty scared when I first started riding horses but it was a really supportive environment and I soon got used to it.

"There was also a great social side to the societies and most weeks we’d get together after the sessions for some food and drink in the Students’ Union.

"Something I loved about the Foundation Year was that it wasn’t just focused on academic study. I felt like I really grew as a person as well. I learnt a lot about communication skills and teamwork. We were often taken out of our comfort zone by being asked to work and discuss ideas with people who we wouldn’t ordinarily work with.

"This has been a really valuable experience as I’ve continued my studies and I’m sure it will be useful in my professional life as well.

"I have four more years of study before I qualify as a doctor. Looking ahead I think I’d like to explore Oncology as a career. I feel really driven by the idea that I might help families struggling through difficult times and would love to make a contribution to the treatment of cancers in the future. So who knows, I might be back in Bradford at the Institute of Cancer Therapeutics!"

Isata Fofanah, Foundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine