Student spotlight on Alannah

January 8, 2015

Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.

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We love sharing our students’ amazing Gap Medics experiences with you, so that you can learn more about what life on placement is really like. Today, we’re talking to Alannah Jarvis, 17, who travelled to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania over the summer on a medicine placement. She talks about the differences between hospitals in Tanzania and the UK, her experience of staying in our Kilimnajaro House, and her plans for the future! 

Student doing a hand-stand in Thailand. Have you always been interested in pursuing a career in healthcare? 

Yes, the science behind healthcare has always fascinated me and I always wanted to learn more in this regard. However, I feel it also has a lot to do with experiencing members of my family deal with health issues. This really gave me the inclination to want to help people and do whatever I can to get them back on their feet.

Can you detail a few of the most eye-opening experiences you had on your hospital placement?

I think the most eye-opening aspect for me was the very apparent difference in healthcare in East Africa to here in the UK. There were so many procedures available here at home that patients in this part of Africa just don’t have access to due to lack of resources. It was really humbling and just makes you realise how lucky we are to have such a good healthcare system.

What made you choose Kilimanjaro as the destination for your placement?

In terms of hospital placement, I felt I would likely get a fantastic experience in any of the Gap Medics destinations. I think it was The Kilimanjaro House and all the extra activities available outside of placement that appealed to me. The safari in particular was such an unforgettable experience.

What are your plans for the future in regards to pursuing a career in healthcare?

At the moment I am studying three A Levels in Biology, Chemistry and History. I hope to apply to study medicine at university so decided to study A Level Chemistry, as all medical degrees require this, along with Biology in many cases.

Do you think your placement has prepared you for your future career?

It was invaluable! Being able to observe surgery is an experience I would never be able to get in the UK. It gave me such a good insight into what a career in medicine would entail and confirmed for me that this is the career path I want to pursue. 

If you’d like to learn more about going on a Gap Medics placement, check out our website:, and take a look at our Facebook page too: You can also call us on: 0191 603 111 or email -we’re always happy to help!