Rabat – Oum Kaltoum Harati, a graduate student at Rabat’s Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, has become the first person in Morocco to write, publish, and publicly present her Doctor of Medicine dissertation (MD) in English.
The Rabat native presented her dissertation about “anterior and middle skull base fossa meningiomas” on September 28, after three years of research.
Harati’s journey was not easy, but her determination to master English proved bigger than the challenges she faced.
In Morocco most medical research is either written in French or Arabic, and universities provide medical students with instruction in only those languages. So, as a non-native speaker, the young doctor said she worked as hard as she could in order to improve her English speaking and writing skills.
Harati told Morocco World News that “choosing English was not an easy thing, because I had to do lots of research in English. I had to read a lot of research papers and translate them into English.”
The young doctor told the story of how she first got the idea of presenting her dissertation in English. “Back in 2016, I had the opportunity to join an elective program for neurosurgery at Montreal’s McGill University. When I joined the internship, communication was one of my biggest challenges. However, my interest and curiosity were much bigger,” said Harati.
After the experience in Montreal, she decided to give her best and improve her English speaking and writing skills. “That was my turning point, and I made the decision to work on my dissertation thesis is English,” explained Harati.
The student said that during her medical journey she met with professor Mahjouba Boutarbouch, in a lecture on “how to perform and fulfill our goals in life.” Harati said that Boutarbouch’s lecture inspired her and made her believe in her dream.
“From that moment I have decided to follow Boutarbouch’s techniques. I even asked her to be the supervisor of my MD dissertation research,” said Harati.
The young doctor added that she was certain that her supervisor would welcome the idea of writing her thesis in English. “Mrs. Boutarbouch always encourages medical students to do their best,” said Harati.
Harati said that her life aspiration as a doctor is to do her best for the sake of humanity. “I chose medical school in 2009 for one reason: helping patients and my society,” said Harati. Moreover, coming in second place was never one of Harati’s interests.
“I always was the best student in my class. My priority was always to be the best.” “I want to improve myself and my skills in order to provide my patients with all the care they need. I am looking forward to changing people’s lives,” she explained.
Harati’s plan after presenting her dissertation is to pursue her career abroad in order to gain more experience in medicine. She said that all medical students and doctors should master English, as it has become the “main language of international scientific communication.”
“I believe that time has come for everyone (professors, doctors and med students) to learn this language in order to be able to communicate our findings and research. This language will provide us with the opportunity to explore and benefit from other people’s findings and achievements,” Harati said.