Hello there! If you are looking at this wall of text, I presume you are interested in at least one of these following courses: Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Veterinarian Science. If you’re not then you might be looking at the wrong post.
Let me just be honest. I chose University of Gadjah Mada (UGM), Yogyakarta, Indonesia to study medicine due to economical considerations as I come from a middle-income family. The whole course costs around RM 200k. The fees increase from year to year, so check it out yourself.
First, let me do a brief introduction of Yogyakarta (but I believe Mr Google can do a lot better than me). Yogyakarta is a city located in central Java, famous for its special status as the only city in Indonesia with a Sultan, and also well-known for the number of universities crammed into this little city. Here, you can see university students literally everywhere, and the city’s economy revolves around the needs of students: from 24-hour photocopy shops to convenience stores and cafés – even Dunkin Donuts is open 24/7! You don’t even have to worry about your laundry, as for less than RM 1 per kilo, people will be begging you to let them do your laundry, iron it and give it back to you all neatly folded.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I took the SPM, then came here to study in University of Gadjah Mada after doing a short foundation in science course (7 months). For more info on this, please contact the sole agents managing the students entering this university (Medic ProLink and Nugrahan)
What was included in the application process to your university?
It involved taking an entrance exam, called the Gadjah Mada Scholastic Test. I was tested on the 3 sciences, Mathematics, English, and Bahasa Indonesia. The tests that were difficult were the Mathematics and Physics tests. The test consisted of hundreds of objective questions, and the marking scheme was: 4 points awarded for each correct answer and -1 point for every wrong answer. But it appears that in 2014, the test has been altered and it is no longer that difficult. There is a psychological test and IQ test too. All the tests will be done on the same day, and you will be interviewed on the spot by doctors for aptitude (just to make sure you have interest in the course you are pursuing, nothing much). The interview is normally one-sided, where you answer questions the doctor asks. Make sure you keep up on the latest medical news as there will be a question or two on recent medical issues. The results will be announced a month or two later. The tests normally commence in June or July, so be sure to contact the agents before this period. My recommendation: study as hard as you can before the exam because whether you enter or not all depends on the test results.
What did you include in your personal statement?
For the personal statement, well I just wrote an honest summary about myself, my strengths, and my weaknesses. They just expect something simple, just so that they can see if you are suited for the course you want to pursue at their university.
Did you perform any attachment?
I did a medical attachment before I entered university, but in my opinion it was solely to convince myself that I am interested in medicine and to experience the life of a doctor. You will get more than enough hands-on experience in the clinical years if you have the right attitude and sufficient knowledge, so do not worry.
What advice would you give to future applicants?
Think carefully before you choose medicine, dentistry, pharmacy or veterinarian science. Once you take the first step, there is no turning back. Any regrets will probably accompany you for your entire life, and turning back will result in a big waste of your parents’ money. Consider the number of people you need to compete with after returning to Malaysia, the amount of hours you will spend dating books and journals, and just simply being in the medical world where no one but people in the same field will understand stuff you say. Be prepared, for the medicine course is a very gruesome, multilevel mental challenge. It will change your life completely, in ways you will never have imagined, be it for good or for bad.
Now for you city folks, I’m going to address your main concerns.
Q: What is the average internet speed there? Will it be fast enough for me to video call home or have an online conference video call with my friends?
A: I’d say 2 Mbps tops for 3G network (normally only enough for social messaging and light browsing) and if you have the cash, 5 Mbps if you get a telephone line connected to your rented house. 5 Mbps costs around RM700 per month? Personally I use a 1 Mbps line which costs around RM70 and share it with 2 housemates. Just nice for all of us, as long as we don’t stream movies at the same time.
Q: What is the usual means of transport?
A: Not many people here can afford cars so we get around by motorbikes. But there are some who prefer to get a car, which costs around RM50k?
Q: What are the living conditions there?
A: Well, money talks here so, the more money you are willing to spend, the better the conditions. A typical room with air conditioning and an attached bathroom for a girl easily goes up to RM 500, with water heater even more. Because all my expenses here are on my parents, I prefer to go on saving mode. My rent costs around RM 2k per year, so that can give you a general idea of how prices can vary. It is totally dependent on what you want. Climate here is similar to Malaysia, but the dry spells and rainy seasons are much more prominent than in Malaysia. Most nights are chilly enough, so sometimes you don’t even need to turn the fan on when you go to bed. Generally, Yogyakarta’s condition is similar to Ipoh, just not as developed as Kuala Lumpur. Expect to take a free “time-travel” back to our parent’s era where Coke is still sold in glass bottles, roadside stalls sell fuel for motorcyclists, small roadside stalls everywhere etc. Ask your parents how their era was like, and it won’t differ too much in terms of infrastructure, except for the fact that you have better technology like computers and 3G networks. In my opinion, it’s not too bad, but initially I really had a culture shock. Just saying.
The student is a low-profile medical student, currently studying in University of Gadjah Mada. He believes that everything in life has an answer or solution in the end.