Om Kumari Budha Magar, who is originally from the mountain kingdom of Nepal, has scaled the heights to overcome tough personal challenges to win a place at the University of Cambridge, where she will study medicine for the next six years.
The 22-year-old moved to the North East three years ago to be with family and had to work hard to improve her English and adapt to a completely different culture.
She joined Gateshead College to complete her A-Levels and eventually secured her place at Cambridge by achieving two A stars in maths and physics and an A in both chemistry and biology.
It’s a triumph for Om and the first time a Gateshead College student has won a place at the University of Cambridge – recently placed in the top three of the world’s best universities.
Om, who lives in Heaton, applied to study at Cambridge while completing her A Levels and was “overwhelmed” to be told in July she had been accepted, after passing an acceptance exam.
She commented: “I am really excited to get started on the course and looking forward to seeing how I will do.
“It has always been my dream to be a doctor and now I am on way to becoming that.
“Without the support of the staff and students at Gateshead College, this would not have been possible.”
Om will be going to Cambridge in October this year, where her course will combine three years of research with three years of clinical studies.
She is the latest in a long line of students who have progressed from the college to a university in the Russell Group – a partnership of 24 leading UK universities committed to excellence in research and teaching.
Pam Hutchinson, lead practitioner at the A Level Academy, said: “Om has been committed to achieving excellence in all aspects of her work and this is reflected in what she has achieved.
“She has been an absolute pleasure. She consistently achieved top grades – a great accomplishment for anyone, but when added to the fact that English is not her first language, the achievement is even more remarkable.
“I would like to congratulate her on her fantastic results and on her place at Cambridge. I wish her the best of luck for the future.
“Also, to have one of the students go to Cambridge has to be a ringing endorsement of the quality of the teaching and learning we are able to provide talented, ambitious and bright young people.”
Commenting on education in Nepal, Om said: “Learning is very different in my native country. Over there, there is a lot more focus on the theoretical side, whereas here at Gateshead College I was able to do much more practical work in the labs.”
Om was voted A Level Student of the Year in 2012 at Gateshead College's annual awards ceremony. These bring together students and apprentices from all areas of the college to celebrate success and achievement in every area of the curriculum.
The University of Cambridge is one of the world’s oldest universities and its reputation for outstanding academic achievement is known worldwide.
Most UK medicine graduates go on to work in the NHS and about half become general practitioners, providing comprehensive healthcare for the local community. There is a broad spectrum of hospital-based careers across medical, surgical and other specialisms.