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Bristol Medical School

By Chiranth Badrinath

Don’t be fooled by its size, Bristol has everything any other city has to offer! Whether it’s the shopping at Cabot circus, enjoying a late night at the world-renowned nightclub Motion, or the amazing views at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, there is something here for every student. Bristol is known for being a vibrant, yet unique city – here are some interesting facts that set it apart from the other city-universities:

1. Bristol is the world’s biggest manufacturer of hot air balloons The hot air balloon is a classic symbol of Bristol. Cameron Balloons in Bedminster makes the most hot balloons out of anyone in the world. Bristol even has its own festival to celebrate them. 

2. Ribena was invented in Long Ashton Ribena, the popular blackcurrant flavoured soft drink, was invented by a University of Bristol scientist in 1933, at the National Fruit and Cider Institute. It quickly gained popularity, during the war, as an alternative source of vitamin C. 

3. Bristol has its own currency  Bristolians are notorious for wanting to do things our own way, and in 2012, the Bristol Pound was launched. Designed to keep money in the local economy, it’s enjoyed a roaring success in keeping trade local since then. 

4. The chocolate Easter egg was invented in Bristol Along with inventing the first solid chocolate bar in 1847, Bristol chocolate company Fry’s created the first ever chocolate Easter Egg in 1873. 

5. Home of nature documentaries 25% of the world’s nature documentaries are produced in Bristol.

6. Home to the famous graffiti artist – Banksy

Keep an eye out, whilst venturing through the city, and you may even see some of his artworks!

The university itself is set in the heart of the city, and a short walk from all the sites and attractions – a benefit of living in a small, yet vibrant city.

The medical cohort for each year is around 280 students – all with their own personalities, hobbies and backgrounds. I was expecting a very competitive, work-minded cohort, but was greeted by supportive and friendly peers - making the stresses of medical school much easier to deal with. Whenever I found myself struggling with a topic, I knew I could count on my peers to help me without the fear of being judged or mocked.

The core of medical school at Bristol is the use of case-based learning, or CBL, in facilitating teaching. This is where groups of students are put together, to work together on clinical cases, with the aid of a University facilitator – all alongside lecture-style teaching delivered weekly. Alongside teaching of the theory, Bristol has an amazing clinical school. Throughout 1st and 2nd year, you will find yourself attending clinical workshops biweekly at the hospitals in Bristol. Early clinical contact (from week 1 itself) is the reason why Bristol sets itself apart from other medical schools! Some things just can’t be taught from a textbook or a lecture, so the opportunity to practice taking histories or examining patients, at such an early stage in your medical career, is second-to-none.

In 3rd-5th Year, you will be sent to the various clinical academies in the southwest of England, and you will refine your clinical skills on the wards and theatres. This is where, in my opinion, you truly get to experience a glimpse into a doctor’s life! The option to undertake an intercalated BSc presents itself between 3rd and 4thyear. This is where you have the opportunity to enter the world of research and clinical science and gain some extra credit to your CV. Bristol has many courses to offer ; many students actually come to Bristol to intercalate, because of the quality and quantity of courses available. Bristol also offers the opportunity to complete a master’s degree during this time as well!

Overall, Bristol is arguably one of the most complete universities in the country (in my ‘biased’ opinion). By having almost any society you can think of – from sports to arts and drama, it appeals to a variety of students from different backgrounds and ethnicities. I myself am part of both the University and Medic’s tennis clubs, which allow me to wind down in between the stressful and hectic medical curriculum. Bristol has not only furthered my medical career, but also given me the skills to become a more well-rounded individual.

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