An aspiring doctor rejected by a string of UK universities despite getting straight As in her A-levels is being forced to do her medical training – in ROMANIA.
Bright Miriam Bourne, 18, scored high grades in all three exams but no British uni would give her a place to study medicine.
But she is determined to fulfil her dream to be a doctor and will now spend six years in the city of Constanta – where a tiny Romanian university has accepted her.
Miriam, of Bodmin, Cornwall, has two GPs in her family and grew up desperate to follow in their footsteps.
She applied for medical school last October and was confidant her predicated grades of an A* and two As would land her a spot at one of her four British uni choices.
But a series of rejections soon followed as she was overlooked by Bristol and Sheffield and then turned down after interviews at Manchester and Keele.
Determined to be a doctor, Miriam rejected the chance to study a different subject through clearing or take a gap year and reapply.
Instead, she scoured Eastern Europe after reading about the region’s emerging universities and applied for a place at Ovidius University.
The six-year degree is taught in English, fully recognised by the General Medical Council and the annual tuition fees are 5,000 Euros – half the #9,000 a year charged in Britain.
After opening her A-level results last week and getting As in biology, chemistry and geography Miriam has secured her spot in Romania.
She said: “Studying medicine is unbelievably competitive because there are only a limited number of places available.
“From speaking to other people I was pretty fortunate to get two interviews – a lot of people just get four flat-out rejections.
“The advice was to wait another year or pick another related subject but it’s always been my dream to become a doctor. I’ve worked really hard to get the grades I need.”
Miriam discovered Romania was an option after attending an undergrad conference and hearing about a company called Plus Med Student which finds places for students rejected by British institutions.
The cost of living in sun-drenched Costanta – Romania’s oldest city, founded in 600 BC – will be low but she doesn’t have the same access to grants and loans that UK students have.
Despite needing to find around #60,000, Miriam says she is determined to join the resort’s growing ranks of foreign students – including trainee medics and mathematicians from Moldova, Albania, Macedonia and Turkmenistan.
She said: “I knew very little about Romania other than what I learnt in geography. I’d obviously heard the references to Transylvania, communism and so forth.
“People kept telling me it was a poor country and asking why I’d want to go there. There is poverty, of course, but its actually a fast-developing country and the facilities look great.
“The course is really hands-on as well and I’ll get to work in a Romanian hospital which should be a challenge.
“They have a great climate, proper snow in the winter and there will be people from all sorts of different cultures to get to know.
“There’s no Asda or Sainsbury’s so I’m not sure what I’ll be eating over there but I like to have a pretty healthy lifestyle anyway – I’m not the type to survive on baked beans.
“Overall it will cost a lot less than British medical school but I wont be able to get student loans. I’m hoping to raise the money but there is a long way to go.”
Miriam originally had ambitions of becoming a midwife or nurse but she was encouraged by teachers at Bodmin College to aim higher and become a doctor after they saw her potential.
Mum Jackie, 42, a supermarket supervisor, said it was particularly frustrating as other students had been offered places to study medicine despite getting lower grades.
Jackie, who has two other young daughters, Ruth, 20 and Phoebe, 15, with her 43-year-old support worker husband Jon, said: “Miriam was devastated to get rejected from the four universities, particularly Keele, where she thought she did well.
“It is so frustrating when some of her friends did get places to study medicine even though their results were not as good.
“The thought of her studying so far away in Romania does make me a little anxious but it’s also an exciting opportunity for her.
“We will miss her terribly because she’s such a wonderful daughter but it’s her life and it’s fantastic that she’s so determined to succeed.”
UCAS, which handles applications on behalf of universities, said students who fail to get into the university of their choice can reapply a year later.
A spokesman said: “Securing a university place is competitive, and although students may miss out on the place they hoped for, other universities are likely to make them an offer.
“There are still thousands of courses with vacancies in clearing, listed on the UCAS website.
“If an applicant has their heart set on a particular course that isn’t available, one option is to apply again next year.”
Anyone wishing to help Miriam financially to attend the course in Romania can go to www.gofundme.com/3Q9WTG