Student Spotlight: Mehdi on working towards a future career in medicine
Words by Mehdi Banki
My name is Mehdi Banki and I have recently completed a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Brisbane. I came to Queensland with my family from Iraq in 2013 when I was 18.
I came to Australia primarily for education. I went to high school at a private college in Brisbane and had to learn everything from scratch. I didn’t speak English when I came to Australia and I knew it would be a long and challenging journey, but I always wanted to have a quality education to reach my ultimate goal of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon.
I knew it was not going to be easy, so I worked hard. I spent days and very late nights in libraries to improve my English, writing, speaking and communication skills and do well in my studies. Even throughout my degree I was at Australian Catholic University just about every day of the week – even on weekends.
The Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree has provided me with the launchpad to achieve my ambition of being a cardiothoracic surgeon.
The University and the system in general have been supportive. ACU is a smaller university, which allows for more one-on-one time with my lecturers and tutors.
ACU also offers work and networking opportunities that are relevant to a future career. I’ve been a student ambassador for the past 2 years, promoting ACU at expos and other promotional events. I’ve also been a sessional academic student, teaching first-year students how to use the laboratory instruments under the supervision of lab facilitators.
I’ve also been able to take advantage of research opportunities. I completed 120 hours during a placement at The Prince Charles Hospital, a major teaching hospital in Brisbane with a focus on cardiac medicine and cardiothoracic surgery, where I assisted a research team guided by a professor, PhD students and nurses.
The next step after graduating is hopefully getting into a medicine degree. Becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon is a long-term goal, but I also have a huge interest in the pharmaceutical industry. I majored in Pharmacology as part of my degree, so my short-term goal is to work within Australia’s pharmaceutical industry.
Based on my experience, Queensland is a great place to study with plenty of opportunities and enhanced teaching and education options. Education is very important to me because I come from a place where I didn’t have the right to education and neither of my parents had access to higher education. The scholarship to ACU has allowed me to stay in Brisbane with the support of my family, which means I can spend more time on my studies and continue my journey towards reaching my goals.