St George’s students have a strong tradition of combining their studies with sport. Many current and former students have taken advantage of the sporting opportunities that a St George’s education allows them, such as playing at representative and even national level. Alongside the recognised physical and mental wellbeing benefits of taking part in sport, St George’s takes considerable pride in enabling students to fulfil their potential, both academically and outside the classroom.
The requirements of competing engender their own unique costs and, combined with the high cost of living in London, this can act as a barrier to taking part in sport for some students. The Alastair Hunter Sports Bursary Fund exists to address this need by helping to meet some of the financial demands of taking part, to ensure that all students can access sport during their time at St George’s.
Balancing two passions
Student Maya Vio balances her own dreams of becoming a doctor by studying at St George’s with her passion for the beautiful game playing for Tottenham Hotspur’s Ladies First Team.
Maya has been at the club since appearing for the U10s in 2006.
She plays as a central midfielder for Spurs Ladies and says her proudest moment was a crucial goal in the dying moments of a Cup game.
She said: “My most memorable memory would have to be scoring the winning goal in the 120th minute of extra time in the National Premier League Cup of the 2015/2016 season.
“But the moment we got promoted to the FA WSL 2 and all the celebration afterwards is also a great memory for me.”
She added: “Currently my role model is Kim Little as I admire her play in the central midfield area and all the combinations she does.”
Maya is a recipient of the university’s Alastair Hunter Sports Bursary, which helps students finance their sporting endeavours while studying at St George’s.
She explained: “I spend a lot of money each week on travel, which was giving me financial stress and put me off attending many training sessions.
“The grant had a huge impact as it allowed me to train more and play without the financial stresses and was vital for me as juggling football and medicine is already quite a challenge.
“Thanks to the donors for the grant, as it has helped me achieve a personal dream of mine, playing in the FA Women’s Super League and competing against some of the best players in the country.”
Balancing her studies as a medical student and as a top-flight football player has been a challenge, but Maya says Spurs have been very understanding.
She said: “My coaches at Spurs know that I’m studying medicine. Whenever I'm stuck with how to organise my time, I sit down with my coach and manager for a meeting where we figure out together what the best option is – regarding both passions of mine: medicine and football.
“Communication is essentially how I do both. If I ever need to take a day off from football then there are measures in place to make sure I don't lose my fitness so that I stay on track.
“My parents are also a big help in allowing me to pursue both passions as they support me and drive me to training after medicine placement.
“Although some would say it's too much to do both medicine and football, I stay motivated because I love both ‘lives’ and to be honest both ventures complement each other, for example the work ethic and attention to detail I learned from one, I'm able to apply to the other.”