How it Makes a Difference: Neil Cunningham (2013)

Making the decision to come to England to study was not an easy choice for me with the recent rise in tuition fees. The financial support I have received from Trinity however has helped alleviate the financial stresses and concerns that I would otherwise have had if schemes such as the Cambridge Bursary scheme were not in place.

I am a keen 2nd year medical student and I have been extremely lucky and very thankful to Trinity not only for the support from the Cambridge Bursary scheme to help with living costs, but also for the Paton fund which part-funded a once in a lifetime volunteering trip to Tanzania this summer. I volunteered at mobile clinics which were manned by 20 volunteer medical students from across the world and 3 local GP’s who had specialties in dental care, paediatric care, hypertension, diabetes and specialised obstetrics and gynaecology care.

Each day we attended a new clinic based at a location deemed to be most in need of medical care. Many of the people we encountered had unfortunately never met a medical professional in their lives and it was through the our mobile clinics that these patients could experience very basic health care for the first time – something that we all take for granted. We even provided children with their first ever tooth brush and were able to teach them how to clean their teeth. This was an extremely humbling, yet rewarding experience and it was one that I could not have undertaken without the support from Trinity College, and the advice from Professor Fitzgerald.

Not only have I benefitted tremendously from all of the support I have received, but each of the communities I helped volunteer with benefited too. My flair and passion for my degree has only been deepened and I hope that one day, I can help to repay the debt I owe to the college by making opportunities like this possible for future Trinity students.

Neil Cunningham (2013)