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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Student experiences of intercalating (part 1)

BSMS > About BSMS > News > Student experiences of intercalating (part 1)

Student experiences of intercalating (part 1)

We’ve spoken with three BSMS students, who are currently intercalating, to find out what it has been like studying something else, and somewhere else, during COVID-19. Have students enjoyed the experience so far? Have there been any specific challenges involved in remote learning in a new subject area? And what piece of advice would they give to anyone considering intercalating?
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Alicia Paesler

Alicia Paessler – Intercalating

1. What did you decide to intercalate in and where?

MRes in Child Health at University College London (UCL).

2. How is/was your experience of intercalating?

I am currently intercalating and so far I have been loving it! It has provided some fantastic opportunities for me. I have been able to learn about child health in much more detail than I might have at medical school. I have gained some great research skills and I am participating in some fascinating research. I have also been able to meet plenty of new people and network with some incredible healthcare professionals. It is definitely a very different type of work and type of learning than what I am used to at medical school but I have enjoyed this a lot. It has also been great to live in another city for a year, despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

3. What piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of intercalating?

I think it’s really important that you think carefully about whether you want to intercalate or not. It does come with additional financial costs, adds an extra year to your studies and might mean you will move to another city. Despite that, it can be a great experience and opportunity but you should make sure that you are really interested in a certain degree and the skills you might gain from it.

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Ollie Pentz headshot

Ollie Pentz – Intercalating 

1. What did you decide to intercalate in and where?

Neuroscience at the University of Sussex.

2. How is/was your experience of intercalating?

It's been really fun! Doing a different course means you develop skills that you wouldn't normally get at medical school. You have the opportunity to do a lab-based dissertation which is great for getting a bit of experience in research. Although some courses can be very time consuming, on the whole courses have fewer contact hours than medicine. This means you can really take your time on assignments and are able to read around and subject and complete it to the best of your ability!

3. What piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of intercalating?

There's no rush to qualify, once you're a doctor, you're a doctor forever so you might as well take different learning opportunities along the way!

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Harriet Sharp

Harriet Sharp – Intercalating 

1. What did you decide to intercalate in and where?

MSc in Public Health at Brighton and Sussex Medical School

2. How is/was your experience of intercalating?

I’m really enjoying intercalation. It has been an opportunity to gain insight into an area that we do not get taught much in medical school, but is an area I would like to go into in the future. The change in learning style was scary to start with, but I do enjoy learning from other students with different experiences to myself. All my essays are tailored towards what I want to research, increasing my understanding of conditions and topics around what I feel will benefit my career, as opposed to generic essays that I do not have particular interest in.

3. What piece of advice would you give to anyone thinking of intercalating?

Definitely think about what you want to do when you graduate as a doctor. You do not need to select a course specific to the speciality you hope to go into, but selecting a course that you are interested in is a MUST. I have a passion for what I am studying which motivates me to write all my essays I am completing. An MSc in particular is very focused on self-learning. I only have 6 weeks of teaching throughout the year, the rest of the course is essay writing and self-research. If I was not passionate for my course it would be so much harder to focus so definitely choose one you have an interest in!

Read more about intercalating here >