Santander awards essay prize to two aspiring medics

7 November 2017

Essay winner Anna (right) with her sister Katie with Doris during their visit to Bolivia.
Essay winner Anna (right) with her sister Katie and Doris during the visit to Bolivia.

Two Medicine students have been awarded joint first prize in this year’s Santander ‘Inspire’ Essay Competition.

Kirsty Hill and Anna Garratt, who are in their fourth and fifth years respectively, both entered the competition which asks students to share their experiences of volunteering in a Spanish-speaking country. Undergraduates from across the University were invited to submit accounts of their time abroad in the form of a written report, a piece of creative writing, a comic, a song or a photo story for a chance of winning the top £500 prize.

Although entering the same competition, Kirsty and Anna’s experiences in the Spanish-speaking countries they visited were very different.

Kirsty travelled to Dénia, on the Costa Blanca, Spain, to spend nine weeks on placement in a hospital where she volunteered in the Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Paediatric departments. Anna spent time in Cochabamba in Bolivia where she visited a young woman named Doris whom Anna and her family had sponsored via the charity Compassion for the last 14 years.

Both accounts of volunteering were uplifting and personal which was recognised by Dr Tilmann Altenberg, organiser of the competition. Dr Altenberg said, “It was fascinating to learn about the diverse experiences of the students who entered this year’s essay competition. The enthusiasm of these young people travelling across the world to use their language skills and give up their time to help others is inspirational. Especially so in the case of the joint winners this year whose experiences demonstrate where language learning can take you in life.”

Kirsty and Anna have been awarded the £500 prize fund which they have split between themselves. Kirsty will be using her share to pay towards another volunteer experience in Cuba where she plans to help in an emergency medicine speciality department, while Anna’s winning will be used for her medical elective in February when she plans to volunteer in Uganda for six weeks.

Well done to both students for their winning entries and good luck on your future travels!