The man who lives in uncertainty

written in May 2020 by K. Dhungana,  Katmandu, Nepal / edited by Rose N. Travers

The COVID-19 lockdown has changed our normal lives in Kathmandu. If the situation were normal right now, I would be attending a class at the American Language Center. But I, instead, have been confined to my apartment for the past 70 days, doing nothing worth mentioning. I had been editing and writing news before May 14 from home. On May 15, I found myself editing a long feature written by my colleague, Laxmi, which ended my 28-month long “NepalKhabar’s” editorship journey.

I went to market this morning for grocery shopping. The grocery stores open in the morning only at 10AM now. I bought a mango, about a kilo of apricots, 3.5kgs of watermelon and a liter of yoghurt. I was searching for some mushrooms but couldn’t find any today. I’m not the only person who’s facing this type of difficulty. It is a similar story for over 4 million lives in Kathmandu.

This lockdown story began in Nepal on March 24. Yet my personal experience during the lockdown, though, is a little bit different. In fact, lockdown started for me on October 10, 2019 when I was seriously injured in a road accident in the middle of a pedestrian crossing.

When I awoke 15 days later from a coma, my wife, doctors and nurses say that I spoke with them.  But to be honest, I can’t remember saying a thing.  I think my some of my memory files may have been deleted, so to say.

Altogether, I spent 1 month in hospital and 3 months of bed rest at home to recover. It was definitely the most traumatic experience in my life. I was feeling so low at that time that ruminations of death began roaming around in my head.

Despite my previous recall difficulties, January 13th is the day that will remain indelibly imprinted on my mind for a very long time. That was the day doctors successfully completed my second brain surgery within 4 months. Yes,. that fine day was January 13, 2020. I had been gradually resuming my normal daily life activities. I began eating, walking and talking  Yet, mysteriously, the outside world seemed to be going in reverse and very rapidly so.  I could witness abnormal scenarios playing out in this outer world. The diagnosis was clear. It had contracted an illness:  COVID-19.

I remember that when I had gone to hospital for my follow up health check 3 months before, I wore everyday clothes like a pair of pants, a shirt, smart watch, and shoes. Checking myself in the mirror, I looked okay. But my doctor didn’t allow to me go outside. He instead recommended wearing a mask, gloves and goggles to protect myself from COVID-19. I followed his medical advice.

I live in a historical town called Kiritipur in Kathmandu. There is a Buddhist monastery, meditation center and also a temple situated here. A hospital and meditation center is nearby and I can look out at them every day from my rooftop.

I love visiting the nonsectarian meditation center but it is closed now due to the lockdown.

The government solution to the problem seems to be using lockdown as a “Corona Vaccine without a Roadmap”. I believe that when they experience the side effects of this substitute vaccine, defiantly they will change the Nepal lockdown. I have clearly seen that health, education, business, and economy are all sectors facing uncertainty.

A soft voice inside of me finds a way to offer encouragement to my disturbing thoughts. It says to me: ‘Don’t worry. This, too, shall change.’

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IELTS for university applicants

IELTS TEST Information The Boston School

IELTS for fulfilling university entry requirements is something many are not aware of as they dream about their future career as a doctor, international hotel manager or university professor.

Yet, the moment you decide you want to pursue a chigher education, you know you are expected to go through a lot of hard work, long hours of training and of course study.

In the end, you know all your effort will be rewarded because being a doctor is one of the most respected and rewarding professions in the world.

You do have to choose your medical school wisely and to know why IELTS is important as a tool to help you on your journey. Here is some information to help you to decide and to learn about the common entry requirements to medical universities in Europe.

Based on the Times Higher Education annual listing, the top universities for medical programs include many in the top 25 in the United Kingdom:

  • The University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • University College London (UCL)
  • Imperial College London
  • The University of Edinburgh

Some top universities outside of the United Kingdom include:

  • The Karolinska Institutet, located in Sweden.
  • The Erasmus University Rotterdam, located in the Netherlands
  • The University of Copenhagen in Denmark
  • LMU Munich, Germany
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland

The minimum entry requirements to start your medical degree studies in Europe would include:

Bachelor’s degree in Europe

  • High school diploma (certificate) with high marks in Biology, Chemistry and Math
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Letter of motivation
  • Voluntary or work experience related to Health Care
  • Those candidates taking the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) must offer three subjects including Chemistry and Biology at the Higher Level, plus three subjects at Standard Level
  • Good English language test scores, a minimum IELTS score varies from school to school but normally ranges between 5.5 – 6.5, equivalent to the CEFR Level of a B2.

To look at the entry requirements and possible choices of where to study:

Master’s degree course requirements on student selection are a little tougher for medical students, the requirements will often include:

  • Bachelor degree diploma (Medicine or any degree related to Health Care)
  • Good English skills where your IELTS score would be 6.5 to 7.0 on average, for some choices you will need 7.5 or above
  • Pass an admission test, a review of your transcripts, recommendations, and other factors as the University makes their admissions decision.

A good overview is provided on the Imperial College London website of their courses and the qualification requirements you would need to study. To view a study portal list of 1200+ Master`s medical courses click here

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What do physicians wishing to work in the UK need to know about IELTS?

IELTS TEST Information The Boston School

The General Medical Council, the body who registers all doctors licensed to practise in the UK, state:

For us to accept the International English Language Testing System(IELTS), your IELTS certificate must show:

  • that you took the academic version of the test
  • that you got a score of at least 7.0 in each testing area and an overall score of 7.5
  • that you got these scores in the same test
  • that you got these scores in your most recent sitting of the test
  • the original stamp and test report form number

weblink: General Medical Council 

You do need a strong score in each IELTS component

Those who seek to study medicine often already have a high-level of English proficiency. However, do not take it for granted that this means you can get the required score without preparation. Even native English speakers struggle to score top marks: 9.0, as would be expected, yet to do so, responses need to be error-free.

Most students are comfortable with their reading, listening and speaking skills, only to find the writing tasks are much trickier and require more work and classes to reach the correct level.

Timing can be important

For students wishing to study medicine, many take their IELTS test between January and March. This is because you will often receive an offer from a university at that time. Especially with a Master`s or other form of study, many will ask you to attend an interview in the summer. Therefore, taking the IELTS in the early part of the year helps students focus on the interview, making accomodation plans and other personal matters.

It also provides a time buffer in case you wish to take the test a second time in order to reach a higher score.

Academic IELTS preparation supports you when you study

Don’t underestimate the importance of a solid Academic IELTS preparation course. Much of what you learn for the test can also be applied when writing academic papers or write medical reports. It trains you to think critically, interpret topics logically and develop coherent verbal reasoning skills.

 

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IELTS Listening – online videos are your unlimited listening resource

IELTS Listening free exercise medical students

In our opinion, online videos are your unlimited listening resource, they are fantastic for any student learning a language or preparing for a test.

They even help the teachers, many of which will admit to using a TED talk video or three in their lessons.

If you want to improve your listening and discover new vocabulary, there’s no end to the practice that you can do. 

The Boston School teachers usually suggest to students to think about:

Choice of video, try to avoid music or gaming tips when you make your choices

We know, we sound like your parents, sorry but we do.

The latest music or gaming video may help you learn a few new words, unfortunately a good number of them will not be part of any English listening test or formal examination yet.

There is nothing wrong with this approach, you do tune your ear to listen to English but it is an informal way of learning.

A better way would be to choose a topic you are interested in, Canadian ice hockey legends, yoga and wellness, the environment and micro plastics as an issue or another topic area that you find interesting.

It extends your vocabulary, you will start writing a few words down on the first videos and then by the 6th or 7th, you will note just the “new words.”

Short videos ( 3 – 5 minutes)

We often use short videos in our lessons, first to run through and then to replay and watch twice or three times.

You can quickly absorb the vocabulary and key learning phrases or words from it. If you want a challenge, try to find a video of less than 2 minutes long, try to watch it and then write the script whilst aiming to understand every word.

This is really good practice for the IELTS listening test, however there are a few you need to apply a quality filter on, like this one which we think would be near impossible.

Longer videos and even movies

A video of 5 to 30 minutes can be found very easily on YouTube and elsewhere, including movies for free.

The benefit of the longer videos or films is that you will not understand every word or phrase, especially if the actors speak with an accent similar to these English ones.

It is good practice in the same way as the short videos to note down only the most useful words or phrases that you hear.

Please take a few minutes to let us know your thoughts or film, or video suggestions, your comment can help other IELTS and English learners.

Why not read about when Rose met the Gabe Polsky, Film Director of Red Army ( it is not a movie we think you have seen)

 

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