My Journey To Become A Doctor

By Nando Reneerkens 

Country of origin: The Netherlands
Age group: 
Reason for going abroad: 
Study / Internship
Travel destination: 
Cambridge, United Kingdom (U.K)
Spring 2016


Hi everyone,

I'm Nando! A medical student who travelled to Cambridge in the U.K. to study Oncogenomics.

I grew up in a small town in the southern part of The Netherlands and had not really travelled much before having moved to the U.K. So you can image how big a step it was for me living away from home for the first time.

For most of my childhood life, I stayed true to taking care of both my parents. Working odd side jobs, here and there, to scrap a living and help pay the bills.

Never really having the opportunity to participate in most of the "normal" things children my age were doing at the time; instead, I found humble ground in helping out those dearest to me. I have to admit, I felt as though I took on a huge emotional responsibility.

At the time, having constantly been in and out of healthcare institutions, paying visits to doctors, being circled by nurses, and not to mention seeing those around me in constant need of day it all came to heart! And it was at that point when I realised that my place was to take care of people...and so I became determined to grow and become a doctor.

...At 18, I left home to attend medical school in Amsterdam.

Going through school, I fought my way up to where I earned a 4.0 GPA in my Masters.

It was then I decided to take a bold step and apply to one of the oldest educational institutions in the world, University of Cambridge.

In my semester at the school, I served alongside renowned professors and doctors in the "Personalized Breast Cancer Program" for women, and led by Professor Carlos Caldas and Dr. Jean Abraham.

Breast cancer is still the leading cancer among women around the world, and so awareness is critical!

My projects have included looking into the DNA structures of different patients and to find out why some women develop severe reactions to chemotherapy.

By assessing different DNA data, the primary goal is to measure whether various manipulations of DNA can alter patients' reactions. Moreso, whether it be possible to tailor specific treatments to provide a better, more efficient, and safer treatment for patients.

 On my down time, I managed to integrate with my student colleagues. Football was always a Sunday event.  


 ...and explore the incredible grounds that surrounded the university and town. 



Boating is a huge University of Cambridge tradition...

Known as one of the oldest boating races amongst universities around the world, the "Cancer Research UK Boat Races" has been taking place since 1829 against Oxford University and University of Cambridge. 

Cambridge leads with 82 wins over Oxford's 80 :) 


 The street art isn't so bad either..


...never a dull moment too :) 


I sadly come to the end of my study at Cambridge...

...but I'm so grateful for the opportunity...the knowledge I've gained and the joint experiences I have had are priceless. I have come across so many new discoveries and have met some of the most incredible people along the way. 

I am so excited to bring everything I have learned, back home to The Netherlands, continue to work on, and perhaps even briefly teach...simply "paying it forward." 

I believe this is just the stepping stone to my future career as a doctor...

Thanks for reading :) 

~ Nando