Yorkshire medical student's ambition to make grandmother proud as she logs on for lessons - from Rome

Flaminia Fichera with her grandmother.Flaminia Fichera with her grandmother.
Flaminia Fichera with her grandmother.
A Yorkshire university student forging a career in medicine has spoken of her inspiration to make her grandmother proud as she logs in for lessons - from Rome.

Flaminia Fichera’s grandmother, Anna, was a paediatrician and a huge influence for the Italian student in embarking on a degree in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Leeds.

Having witnessed the work of the NHS over recent months, she said, she is even more determined to finish her studies and 'do her bit' to help.

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“I’ve always looked up to my Nonna and hearing her stories of working in the healthcare industry inspired me to do it myself," said 18-year-old Flaminia.

"She told me all about how rewarding it was and I knew this was what I wanted to do."

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While Flaminia has been unable to attend lectures in person, she has been logging on virtually to access her learning from Rome.

And while she said it is a little upsetting to miss the social side of beginning university, this is not among her priorities.

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"As long as I can still study and ‘attend’ my lectures then I’m happy," she said. "I was most worried about potentially having to postpone following my dream.

“I’m ready to make my grandmother and mum proud," she added.

"They inspire me every single day and have always been my biggest champions – now’s my time to really show them what I’m capable of.”

Bursary grant

The financial challenge for many international students has proved especially difficult, but Flaminia has been awarded a bursary grant from Pack & Send, a global logistics franchise, which she says has helped to put her mind at rest financially and will go towards books and accomodation when she is able to arrive in Leeds.

Mike Ryan is the UK chief executive of Pack & Send.

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“We’ve worked with international students for decades, helping them repatriate their belongings or move from one university to another," he said.

"When the pandemic hit, it became apparent that the situation was just adding financial distress and we felt that launching the bursary scheme would be a small, but positive, way of helping them continue to fund their studies.

"We had so many wonderful applications, but Flaminia’s story was particularly inspiring.”


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