My name is Gilmar Gutierrez, I'm an international medical student from Ecuador, currently going through my last year of medical education at Queen's University, ON, Canada. Since childhood, I have always wanted to help others, especially those who are vulnerable, underrepresented, and stigmatized. I completed my undergraduate degree in Canada at the University of British Columbia and was admitted to medical school at Queen’s - something I never could have dreamed of back in Ecuador. I have continued to work hard not only to achieve the grades, participate in activities, and publish research necessary to get into medical school, but to finance my way through it.
However, as an international medical student my tuition is much higher than my Canadian peers (over $80,000 per year). There are few difficult to access financing options, and the lines of credit commonly used to fund medical education in Canada are not an option for me. My parents, family friends and bank loans have been my only options, and though it's been very tough, I have managed to finance 3 years of medical education. Being resourceful and preparing multiple plans and options has been incredibly important. Yet there's no amount of planning that could have prepared us for the inevitable economic effects that the COVID pandemic had on my country. My parents’ income relies heavily on commerce and tourism, making our ability to collect the money necessary to pay for my last year of tuition significantly more difficult.
It is difficult to ask for help, especially when it comes to money, but I'm running out of options. I'm overdue on my first term tuition payment and the deadline for the second tuition payment is fast approaching. I've communicated this to Queen’s and they have informed me that I can continue with my studies, however as it is standard practice, if my tuition is not paid in full, my graduation will be placed on hold until I can pay.
As an international medical student, I'm not eligible to participate in the 2022 CaRMs match for medical specialties and won't be until I become a Canadian permanent resident. Thus, paying my tuition and graduating on time becomes very important, since right after I finish my medical education, I must start the 2-year process of becoming a Canadian permanent resident. My hope is to eventually become a psychiatrist and I aspire to make great contributions to mental health research to benefit the health of Ecuadorians, Canadians and people around the world.
I very much appreciate any amount that you can contribute, every little bit counts.
Thank you very much for considering my story and helping me in this difficult challenge.