Although he has been blooded – sometimes literally – in emergency rooms and ambulances in his own country, Flinders University’s first Bahraini student has come to Australia to study the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Paramedic).
Sayed Marhoon Al Wadaei signed up for the three-year degree course when International Office staff from Flinders visited Bahrain last year. He received six months credit for his existing nursing qualifications, and described the process of enrolling at Flinders and setting up in Adelaide with a host family as “very smooth”.
With his study endorsed by the Head of the Ambulance Department and support in the form of a Bahrain government scholarship, Sayed is confident of turning his years of practical experience into a degree, but expects challenges.
“The course is of a very high standard, and paramedic skills need constant updating,” he said.
Another dimension will be added to his experience when he takes up an invitation to travel to the Grand Prix in Melbourne next year to join a medical extrication team.
Sayed hopes to take up a training role on his return to Bahrain, and said that other Bahraini paramedics will are keen to follow in his footsteps. And because there is no qualification available to paramedics in the Gulf region, he said there may well be opportunities to set up a program in Bahrain or other Gulf countries in conjunction with Flinders.
Mr Steve Brooks, International Admissions Manager, said that Flinders was committed to developing links with potential student markets in the Middle East.
“We have made eight trips to the region, some of them with academics, over the past two and a half years,” he said.
Overseas student demand for places in the paramedic program is high, with eligible students booking places as far ahead as 2011.