Well worth the journey
IT'S been a long road for Gonzalo De Angulo, but one well worth it, he said.
Originally a qualified doctor in his native Columbia, where he studied and then worked for more than two years, after he and his wife moved to Australia almost 13 years ago, he had to begin training again to become a qualified doctor in this country.
For the last 12 years Dr De Angulo has worked as a paramedic, the last eight years in Lismore.
He said he's always had a passion for medicine and helping people.
When he and his wife first moved to Australia, they lived in Sydney, then Condobolin, before settling down in Lismore and beginning a family.
"We love it here," he said.
In 2009 he began the process to become a qualified doctor in Australia - bridging his Columbian qualifications to create Australian ones.
This process has seen him go through written, clinical and English exams, and spending months at a time in Melbourne for study.
"It was difficult being away from my family, but it went very quick," he said.
However, he said, it's all been worth it.
"The whole journey has helped me grow as a person and a doctor," he said.
Now Dr De Angulo is on the road to being a fully fledged doctor again - in Australia. He's begun a one year internship at Lismore Base Hospital, which will be followed by a year as a junior doctor. "Then we'll see from there," he said.
He said having worked as a paramedic in Lismore for so long had really helped.
"It's been a good experience. Being a paramedic I got to know quite a few doctors and staff from the emergency department, so when I started back in medicine, they were very welcoming," he said.
As one of two of his own children was born at Lismore Base Hospital, he said he looked forward to spending a long time working the wards there.