Mayan Robbas: The dream of becoming a doctor and the real desire to start fulfilling this dream as soon as possible eventually took me to Vilnius University

Admission of foreign students to the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University is growing annually, with over 100 first-year students enrolled in the integrated medical and dental study programs. It is no secret that the Faculty of Medicine in Vilnius is particularly attractive to young people from Israel. This year 82 students from all over the world began their studies at the Faculty in the English-language medical and dental programs. Five are from Israel. After the first class of international students graduated this year and the decision was made to increase admission, great emphasis has been placed on the quality of studies.


- Why did you choose to study in Vilnius, Lithuania, and not abroad? What motivated you?

- I got a recommendation about studying in Vilnius from people I knew. I heard that the program of medicine at the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University was pretty new and promising. And while I was trying to get admitted to medical schools in other countries, I discovered that I got admitted here.

At first, when I was offered the idea of coming here, I had not heard about the Faculty of Medicine in Vilnius. But after a while, I discovered I got in and the dream to become a doctor led me to the conclusion that I have the opportunity to fulfill it! The decision came gradually, after years of trying to get accepted in Israel, after I had already planned a very clear path that would ultimately lead me to my goal: to be a doctor. And so, despite the fear of leaving everything I know and am sure of, at the very last moment I chose to gather my courage and come here, to try and see what the world and this place have to offer me and find out if I might find my way here. After a long period of exertion and deliberation, I realized that the dream of becoming a doctor and the real desire to start fulfilling this dream as soon as possible eventually took me to Vilnius University.   

- It is not easy to enter the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University; a high and competitive entry score requires a lot of effort from future students. What was your way like? When and why did you decide to choose this future profession of yours and this study program?

- To be honest, I always knew I wanted to be a doctor or a brain researcher. It was my childhood dream, and even during high school, I was preparing myself for the most prominent medical schools in the world. The admission requirements for Israel were higher than the admission requirements for Vilnius, and my grades were not high enough. Last year I decided to test my future in brain research and began to study in an outstanding program at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, a double degree in psychology and biology. But the more time I spent there, the more I realized that the nature of the studies and future work would not suit me because of the lack of interpersonal interaction. The research work sounded interesting, but I felt a tremendous lack of motivation in my studies, so I realized that I needed to choose my future in medicine and do that as soon as possible. So, quite surprisingly, the admission here was relatively easy.

- Tell us please what school you graduated from and what your results were. Were there any connections between your school life and future studies?

- I graduated from Leyada (Hebrew University Secondary High School) in Jerusalem. During my high school studies, I specialized in two major topics. One was biology and the other was health sciences. These two subjects are definitely related to what I am studying today. In biology, we studied topics related to the natural sciences and life sciences such as genetics, ecology, and cell biology, and we had lab experiments on a variety of materials, such as testing the effects of different concentrations of materials on living cells such as yeast. In the field of health sciences, we studied anatomy, histology, diseases, and preventive medicine. We toured hospitals and were privileged to observe surgeries. Finally, we wrote a project on patients with chronic diseases. We learned about their illnesses and accompanied them during their treatments.

- Can you remember the moment when you found out that you got accepted to the Faculty of Medicine of Vilnius University? How did you feel at that time? What about your family and friends? What was their reaction?

- I remember that as soon as I received my acceptance letter I felt a tremendous relief. It was a kind of inner satisfaction that someone there thought I was good enough to bear the great responsibility of caring for patients. Of course, my parents and friends were happy to hear about my acceptance because they accompanied me throughout my stubborn way of pursuing my dream. In addition, when I finally decided that I was brave enough to move to a new country and an unfamiliar place, there was also a sense of happiness.

- You probably had your own vision about your future studies and some expectations for your first days at the faculty. Could you tell us briefly what they were?

- In fact, since I had already studied at university, my expectations for the first days of my studies were very much in line with reality. I felt like I knew how to prepare myself for the first one or two weeks of studies. I assumed there would be a greater atmosphere of excitement than of studying. But personally I was really looking forward to the beginning of the first semester, to the moment that I would begin (or in a sense, return to) studying what I love.

- What do you think about Lithuanian medicine and medicine in the world in general? Do you know any people in the world of medicine who inspire you and serve as an example to follow?

- It is difficult for me to answer such a question because I feel quite ignorant about medicine in Lithuania. When I was a child, my father worked in a hospital in Israel, albeit not in the medical field, so I got used to seeing hospital processes first hand. Most of my father's friends are doctors and everyone gave me great inspiration to learn and engage in this profession. As a child, I used to visit my father at work and walked around the hospital. I had the possibility to see the doctors, my father's friends, leaving patients’ rooms after checking on them, finishing surgeries, and rushing from place to place in the hospital. I can remember the looks they had on their faces after seeing patients in a difficult situation, before or after surgery. Those expressions displayed their sense of mission and the weight of responsibility on their shoulders. Without a shadow of a doubt, they were my greatest inspiration for choosing this profession.

- Could you please describe the personality traits of a great doctor in your opinion?

- I don’t think a good doctor can be measured on one plane alone. But if I had to choose, I think the best doctor would be the one who could stop time for one moment while standing in front of his patient, forget everything that’s not relevant, listen to the patient if necessary, and choose the best treatment. So in short, healthy judgment is what can make any doctor great, in my eyes. In my opinion, the personal qualities of a great doctor are many and varied. I believe that a good doctor must have well-developed emotional intelligence, because he stands in front of people during their most sensitive moments and is obliged to help them. The ability to sense the different signs displayed by patients and people who are in difficult situations also seems critical to me. A great doctor must be one with a great knowledge of medicine, so that he or she can use it easily and quickly when necessary. So in a certain sense, intelligence is a necessary criterion for a doctor. Passion for the profession and subjects related to the human body and love for human beings in general are also milestones in my eyes.

- What is the motto of your life? What are your hobbies in your spare time?

- My motto is to live my life as long as we are given the possibility. Enjoy every moment because it will never come back again, and appreciate what is around us. My hobbies are cooking, baking and fitness. I enjoy a variety of sports activities and in the past I also studied physical training and worked as a fitness trainer. I enjoy hiking in nature with friends and reading good books. And frankly and simply I enjoy a good cup of coffee.