Medical student Neil Cunningham on the difference bursaries make
"More than six years ago, I came to Cambridge for my interview at Trinity. I had no training for it, had never been there and no idea what to expect, but I fell in love with Cambridge at first sight and I felt completely at home in my interview."
I am the first in my family to go to university, and I was the first from my grammar school to come to Cambridge to study medicine. Growing up on a Northern Irish dairy farm, I was encouraged to study hard to 'get a good job', but I always wanted to go further. Without scholarships and bursaries, I couldn’t have come to Cambridge and my life would be so different.
A Cambridge medical degree is about so much more than being a doctor. At Cambridge, you are inspired and influenced by the most amazing academics. You get to see their incredible research — and because of the unique pre-clinical and clinical structure of the degree, you treat your first “patient” right from the very beginning of your degree.
Without scholarships and bursaries, I couldn’t have come to Cambridge and my life would be so different.
In my second year, I volunteered for a summer programme teaching English in China. I fell in love with China too, but there was so much that was disorganised and inefficient about that particular programme… So I decided to start my own fully immersive summer camps where Cambridge students teach schoolchildren in Guangzhou. That student-led programme has grown and expanded through China and into Indonesia, and we even run a British-style debating carnival.
I guess I love administration and increasing efficiency just as I love medicine (along the way I’ve been President of the Trinity May Ball too!). My ambition is to blend my medical and administrative skills to fix the NHS.
Cambridge has given me so much. Now it’s my turn to pay it forward, and I’m heading out to change the world.