Grammar Graduate: Nadja Pop (2017)

Nadja Pop (2017) graduated from Girls Grammar with a dream to live overseas and study medicine. Now, in the second year of her degree, and having completed a surgical internship, Nadja is more inspired than ever to have a career in medicine.

Why did you decide to study medicine in Romania and was this something that you were motivated to do while studying at BGGS?
I became interested in studying overseas while at Brisbane Girls Grammar School. BGGS taught me to be motivated, adventurous, determined, passionate about my studies, and the importance of teamwork—all skills that I continue to use on a daily basis. Romania was my first choice as I wanted to be closer to my family and explore my ancestry. Studying with an international cohort, I have learned so much and have been exposed to so many wonderful people and cultures—much like my time at BGGS.

I believe that my family and the nurturing environment at school enabled me to achieve my goals. I am most thankful for Head of Beanland House, Ms Rachael Christopherson, and Science teachers, Ms Anne Byrne, Miss Gerri Bernard and Mrs Monica Urry. They not only encouraged me to explore my interest in science but pushed me to be the best version of myself. After graduating from BGGS I had several part-time jobs including Debating Coach at the School. Even as a BGGS alumna, the School community supported and motivated me to pursue my desire to study overseas.

How have the events of 2020 personally affected you?
This year has presented many challenges. I completed five months of university online in Germany and was then required to travel to Romania to take an exam. This was a particularly challenging time as all my practical activities also took place online and I find it easier to understand a subject through visual learning.

During those five months, I also completed a one-month internship where I gained firsthand experience with patients. One thing that kept me motivated during these difficult times was seeing how my small actions, such as greeting patients in the morning or helping them to sit up to have their breakfast, had a major impact on their wellbeing. It really reminded me of why I fell in love with this career.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
The medical research project I am working on is still in its early stages however, I can say that it focuses on age-related macular degeneration. In five years, I hope to have completed my university studies and would very much be interested in completing my residency in Germany or Switzerland, and returning to Australia for a six-month internship at some point. I am also very interested in pursuing ophthalmology in the future and was fortunate to attend and assist in some surgeries during my internship.