Medical Student Nethashi Jayatilaka shared about her life in Latvia. We are presenting her interview here. Find out more about her.
Please describe yourself.
I’m a 22 years old student, born and raised in Sri Lanka. At the age of 19, I moved to Riga, Latvia for my studies. Presently I am attending Medical School here. I am raised by a single mother and I had been extremely independent always. My independent qualities helped me to re-settle quickly at Riga. Credit goes to my friends in my Medical School too. They are great support to me. Occasionally, my mother visits me at Riga, Latvia.
I love dogs and I like to travel. Anyone who knows me will also say that I love food too.
Why you choose to study Medicine?
I think I always want to do medicine. From young, I was fascinated by science and medicine. For me showing compassion and empathy at the right time is very important. I am studying what I was fascinated with.
I love charity work and I hope I can contribute my services in the rural parts of Sri Lanka one day. I want to make the positive difference in someone’s life. I am blessed with people around me who supports my journey.
Which part of Europe are you settled in? Please elaborate the life over there.
I am living and studying in Latvia, a lesser known and highly underrated part of Europe. It’s located next to the Baltic Sea. Latvia glows with rich and vibrant Eastern European culture. Riga is capital of Latvia.
As a medical student, the healthcare system here gives us extended exposure from our first year itself. I am studying medicine at RSU (Riga Stradiņš University).
Latvia has wide range of entertainment and nightlife activities. The European cuisine here is very extensive. The food are at affordable prices too. As a student, I visit nice restaurants and cafes that fits my budget. I have found a great balance between study and play here.
What travels have you taken and what exposure to other cultures have you had
Coming to Europe gave me a whole new perspective on travel. Being from Sri Lanka, travelling outside the country was always considered a luxury with the expensive flights and visa procedures. Ever since I’ve moved to Europe, travelling became a part of my life. I have been to few different parts of Italy and Switzerland several times. I have travelled to the Baltic States, Estonia and Lithuania too. I have visited Sweden, where I have many close friends from the University. I visited Amsterdam for last spring break. Spent my birthday this year in Annecy, France. The list goes on and on!
What do you do for fun?
Almost anything becomes fun when there is a need. I love studying medicine but I must admit that it brings an emotional and physical strain on me at times. When things get a little stressful I like to hit the gym or if the weather is nice I go to the parks or the beach.
Friday nights are no exception for medical students where the stress builds up and medical students would like to loosen up a bit. There are clubs, house parties or student events to attend on the weekends which becomes fun for me.
How do you define success?
Success for me isn’t just about being the best or winning everything. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, but everyone has the ability to try their best shot. I define success for myself if I can execute a task to my full potential without giving any excuses.
How do you handle rejection?
I think the thought of rejection isn’t new to me as a medical student. Applying for medical school and getting a rejection is my first rejection in my life. Latvia wasn’t my first choice because I didn’t know much about the country. If I wasn’t been rejected, I won’t be here. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason and I’m glad things turned out well. Rejection isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of something new.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
I don’t like to focus on weaknesses. I guess that’s weakness itself. I guess overthinking is one of my biggest weaknesses because I end up stressing myself out.
But then my strength is being able to take those thoughts and organize myself quickly.
What do you feel are the social responsibilities of a physician?
Health is not just a state of physical well being but also of mental and emotional well being. A physician’s overall responsibility is not just to help to maintain and protect human life, but also ensure the quality of life. On a social scale, “Prevention is better than cure”. It is our responsibility as future physicians to educate and establish a mindset within society that is focused on helping each other maintain a healthy and well balanced lifestyle.
If you could be granted three wishes for making the world a better place, what would they be and why?
My first wish would be that people learn to appreciate and celebrate each other without any differences.
My second wish would be for even and equal distribution of resources, so everyone gets the basic needs.
And lastly, I would love everyone to have the opportunity to travel. Travelling opens up your mind to new and brilliant perspectives.