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To carry on with our theme of FPs in healthcare, we bring you the wonderful Matt Arnold (2011) who is now a Junior Doctor in New Zealand.
Matt has been on the front line overseas since August 2020 having previously worked for the NHS in Edinburgh. Despite the time difference and complexities of Matt’s shifts, we caught up with him to hear how his Heriot’s education got him to where he is today.
Please get in touch if you wish to share your story ‘after Heriot’s’.
What is your current role?
I am currently working as a Junior Doctor in Christchurch, New Zealand. My role is looking after the general care of patients in the orthopaedic/plastic surgery wards but also working in the minor injuries and fracture clinics in Accident and Emergency. I moved here after finishing my foundation training in the UK to make the most of a natural break in my career and try something new. The hospital system is fairly similar to the UK but highlights include free lunches and slightly warmer weather!
How did you get there?
After finishing at Heriot’s, I had a gap year before heading to Aberdeen to study Medicine – it is a great place to study and I would highly recommend for university! I also had a break in the middle where I popped down to Imperial College London to do an intercalated degree before graduating from Aberdeen in 2018. Afterwards, I returned to Edinburgh to complete 2 years as a junior doctor, before travelling to New Zealand with my partner Patricia to experience a different healthcare system and do some exploring. I feel very lucky to have made it out here during COVID-19 where life is much more normalised. Luckily, I managed to get a visa due to my job and flew out in August to spend 2 weeks in an isolation hotel before starting work. The plan is to return to the UK after 1-2 years to hopefully start a surgical training programme.
What are your most notable achievements?
It’s always difficult to choose specific achievements – a few highlights from school include playing at Murrayfield in the Scottish Schools’ Cup final, winning the House Music competition with Raeburn and being part of a great school captains’ team in sixth year. I really enjoyed my gap year where I volunteered in Ghana and coached tennis in Melbourne. Graduating from University after 6 years was a big relief, and I have a few other nerdy work-related things which I’m proud of but won’t bore you with!
What are your memories of Heriot’s?
I have great memories of various school trips such as Aberfeldy, Holland, German exchange, and skiing in France. I loved being involved with various sporting events and having a daily race with my fellow students to the prestigious ‘El Falafel’ at lunchtime. One of the more painful memories would be singing ‘Reach for the Stars’ by S Club 7 in front of Assembly in 6th year, something I’m forever grateful wasn’t filmed.
Tell us your two ‘takeaways’ from your Heriot’s days:
Heriots is a wonderful school that shapes fantastic human beings. The sense of community is great, and I will always remember the ethos of ‘work hard, be kind, be happy’ which is emphasised from day one. Staff and students all buy in to the same philosophy and I feel very grateful to have attended for 14 years and met people who will remain friends for life.
Any top tips for current pupils when planning their future?
Take your time to think about what you want to do with your future and don’t be afraid to make a change or step out of your comfort zone. Try and see the world as much as opportunity allows, it’s a beautiful place! Work hard, be kind, be happy.