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From not being able to say hello in English – to getting a place to study medicine in just four years

News overview

Inspirational Niks on the road to becoming a doctor

A student from Suffolk New College who couldn’t even say hello in English four years ago has just been offered a place to study medicine at university.

Niks putting in study time before final exams

Niks Pavels, 20, from Ipswich is currently on an access to higher education science course at Suffolk New College.

Prior to that he spent a year on an English for Speakers of other languages (ESOL) programme before studying GCSEs in English and maths as well as partaking in two health and social care courses. (All at Suffolk New College).

Now as he approaches the end of his time at one of the largest educational establishments in the region, Niks is looking forward to his next challenge.

He said: “My homeland is in Latvia. I’d never been to the UK before coming here to live. I was accepted by the college but my English was so bad. But, I learnt very quickly and my teachers helped me alot. I was shy (to speak the language) but they put me in situations where I had to speak. Away from study – the big mind blow for me was that I thought people in the UK would be like the royal people. But they are not.

“The best thing about the UK is the opportunities that you have. The world is more open.

I will finish this summer and then I can study medicine in Worcester, health care in Birmingham or Biology in Bristol.

Niks posing with BTEC workbook

“Long term I want to specialise in dermatology. My grandmother had skin problems and this is where my interest in this subject began. I’m excited by the future. Since coming to the UK, I believe that every day there are people here who can help you. This really is a country of opportunities.”

Gareth Morris is the Head of Service Industries and Science at Suffolk New College. Gareth said: “The journey that Niks has been on so far has been phenomenal. To go from not speaking English to potentially studying medicine at a British university is simply inspirational.

Gareth added. “Our ‘access to higher education courses’ are life changing for so many of our mature students, helping them get the entry requirements to university so that they can pursue their dreams, just like Niks.”

Suzy Haynes is the Head of ESOL at Suffolk New College. Suzy said: “We have so many amazing students who start on our ESOL programmes and go on to achieve great things and we are so proud of Niks – and indeed all of our learners.”

Posted 5 April 2024