Meet the transatlantic siblings who are proving a real sister act Sunderland after the couldn't bear to be parted.
When Bhavika Girdhar arrived in Sunderland to start her MPharm programme, she missed one thing from back home in Canada – little sister Kanika.
But not even 5,646 miles of ocean were going to stop this pair from proving that blood is thicker than water.
Taking a leaf out of Bhavika’s book, Kanika decided to enroll on MPharm too and now the pair are living and studying together in the city.
Bhavika, 24, said: “She arrived here in September and although I’m in my last year, it’s amazing to have her here and to be back together.
Now, Bhavika has nominated Kanika for the University of Sunderland’s Rate your Mate awards. The awards aim to shine a light on hard working students who go above and beyond in their studies, life and work while studying.
Kanika, 18, said: “I was quite nervous when I moved here but it’s been brilliant having that sense of independence; of shopping for myself, making our own food etc.
“Bhavika had told me how good the pharmacy course was here and I knew she had settled in the city, so I wanted to come and join her.”
Now, parents Sanjay and Neupam are having to adjust to empty nest syndrome with both their daughters being far from the family home in London, Canada.
Bhavika added: “It’s a long way and it’s not like they can just call round for a visit, but they are planning to come over for my graduation.”
So why did Bhavika decide to nominate her little sister?
“She’s just been brave coming over here and settling into a new country at just 18-years-old,” she adds.
“I know she was nervous but she’s done really well since arriving last September.”
And what is Kanika planning to do once her big sister’s graduates?
“I’ll have three more years to get to know Sunderland. And I won’t be the baby anymore,” she adds.