Life@Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin

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I’m currently in my third year studying medicine at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. The application process is quite straightforward compared to UCAS. There is an application form where you have to rank the universities. Your application will be send to your first choice and if you’re rejected, you’ll then move on to your second choice and so on. You will have to send in a simple CV as well. If you’re successful, you’ll be invited for an interview around April. The interview was fairly laid back and you’ll get the usual questions with faculty member from the Irish universities. Following the outcome of your interview, you’ll either get an offer letter or be placed on the waiting list.

After accepting an unconditional offer from TCD, the next issue was accommodation. TCD has an off-campus student hall, known as Trinity hall. On-campus accommodations are generally for students with disabilities and scholars (I’ll briefly touch on the subject of scholarship later). Trinity hall basically has 2 types of accommodation, Cunningham house and the modern apartments. Cunningham house is shared while you’ll get en suite rooms in the modern rooms. There are also some twin rooms in the modern apartments.

In terms of academics, TCD is similar to the system we’re used to. There will be lots of memorising and exams. But then which medical curriculum does not? To help relieving the stress from studying, TCD has many clubs and societies, ranging from sports and arts to food and drinks. There is also an on-campus gym.

Socially, the Irish are the best people I’ve ever meet. Most of them are so friendly, they go out of their way to help you. But they do love their alcohol such that TCD has its own on-campus bar, called The Pav. The city of Dublin is compact and there are many affordable restaurants as well as Michelin-starred ones. The shopping scene is little less developed compared to other major European cities, like London or Paris. But it is sufficient enough to get everything you need and for the occasional splurge. Dublin also has many gardens within the city limits. There is a certain tranquility mixed in the bustling city and also a bit of ancientness mixed into the contemporary.

Dublin celebrates much of the same holidays as other western countries. But one particular holiday that stands out is St. Patrick’s Day, which happens on the 17th of March every year. It is a national holiday for the Irish. On that day, the main streets in the city close and parade marches throughout the city. It is a tradition for people to wear green and paint their face in the Irish colours on that day. After the parade, the crowd disperse and gather in the many pubs of the city.

In terms of weather, the stereotypical expectation is actually true for once. There isn’t much sun, especially during winter. It also rains a lot here but it isn’t like the kind of downpour that we get in Malaysia but more of an annoying, depressing kind of drizzle that comes and goes every 5 minutes. Most of the time, the rain will be accompanied by strong wind especially around November-December and I’ve never seen any umbrellas that can withstand that kind of force. Therefore, I would recommend wearing a waterproof or at least, a showerproof coat.

I wish everyone all the best in their application. Hope to see you in Dublin soon!


 

Wennweoi

Wennweoi is an aspiring surgeon who is in her third medical year at Trinity College Dublin. She enjoys studying about anything medical but detests the exams. Also, pastries make her very happy.

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Life at Monash-Parkville as a Pharmacy Student

My name is Leong Kum Chuan and I am studying the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) in Monash University, Melbourne Parkville campus. It was a dream come true to be given an opportunity to study in the best pharmacy school in Australia, Monash University – Victorian College of Pharmacy.

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Monash focuses mainly on research hence research assignments and lab reports are essential. The curriculum of the school of pharmacy provides me great exposure allowing me to gain a vast knowledge in the field of pharmacy. Monash provides us with the latest technology in learning such as MyDispense: a pharmaceutical leading technology allowing us to virtually dispense through a computer. Besides that, Monash University helps us to overcome stage fright and improve our communication skills through the programme through our presentations each semester. Every semester, pharmacy students are expected to present topics covered in our lectures for 15 minutes providing us bountiful of opportunities to research and explore our interests. One of my previous topics was on gastroesophageal reflux disease. To counsel patients, communication skills and confidence is essential. Besides that, having a high proficiency in English is important for a pharmacist and proficiency in other languages too provides a leverage.

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Monash University has 3 campuses in Victoria (Clayton, Parkville and Peninsula). Monash Parkville is also known as the Victorian College of Pharmacy, which is the pharmaceutical campus for Monash University. The Parkville campus is located in close proximity with the University of Melbourne. As compared to other campuses, the campus is relatively small and accommodates lesser club and societies. Therefore my friends and I joined Malaysian of Melbourne University (MoMU) and we met a lot of friends there!

For me, the highlight of the campus is the library as we can have group discussion. The library is split into a quiet zone as well as the discussion zone provided for the convenience of the students to suit the purpose of the student in using the library.

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The syllabus of pharmacy involves a lot of scientific knowledge requiring a deep understanding and memorizing which proves to be quite a challenging course. In my opinion, we are on par with a doctor as we have to be competent in communication as well as a mastery in our knowledge.

Whilst a pharmacist is a mastery in the uses, interactions and its safety uses in regards to drugs and medicines, a general practitioner is good at diagnosing and providing treatment.  Besides gaining knowledge from lectures and researches we do for our presentations, we are also have to analyse a substantive amount of case studies, workshops and group tutorials. In case studies, we are given a scenario to brainstorm with our groupmates to solve it. Case studies requires one to think out of the box and encourage a good relationship and foster teamwork with your peers to solve the problem. On the other hand, workshops are held to expose us and give us a better understanding in regards to our lectured topics. It also teaches us the procedures of the experiments with the use of a computer and molecular modelling kit.

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Each year, Monash accepts 150 pharmacy students from Australia and different countries such as Malaysia, Hong Kong and China. To put it in a nutshell, personally I think studying pharmacy in Monash University, Melbourne is great! It allow me to pursue my dream. I believe I will become a successful pharmacist in no time!


Leong Kum Chuan

Kum Chuan is currently studying the Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) at Monash University Parkville campus. He is an outgoing person, with a true Melburnian spirit. Food hunting around Melbourne is what he does when he is not busy with his studies.

Life at Monash University as a First Year Medical Student

the-strip-building

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Before writing this article, I checked my student e-mail for the thousandth time (my paranoid self does not think this is an exaggeration) for an e-mail about supplementary exams. Unless I’m hopelessly blind, I think it’s safe to say that I didn’t receive any, which allows me to introduce myself correctly – Hi! I have just completed my first year of MBBS in Monash University, Australia.

I did my A-level at Taylor’s College, Subang Jaya so if you’re reading this and grumbling about A-Level, trust me, you’re not alone and yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel. During the university application period, I applied for Pharmacy and Medicine in universities in Malaysia, UK and Australia. I was fine with studying anywhere as long as I had a university to go to. However, I did hope to get into an Australian university or International Medical University (IMU) because I wanted to start studying in early February. To cut the long story short, I never thought I could do it but thankfully, Monash saw a potential doctor in me.

I remember being so fascinated by the cultural diversity in Australia when I first arrived. I’ve met Russians, Greek, Europeans, Canadians, Hong Kongers, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Singaporeans and of course, Malaysians. I find the curriculum in Monash appealing because it’s a 5-year undergraduate programme. Some universities only offer post-graduate or 6-year programmes. We also get site visits to clinics and hospitals pretty early on, which is good to remind you that you’re treating real patients and not just textbook diseases. There’s also dissection of real cadavers in the second semester when we start Anatomy and that’s one of the advantages of studying overseas – you don’t get that in Malaysian medical schools.

I did experience a difference in the academic culture as studying in university is centred around self-learning rather than the spoonfeeding we’ve been used to. The lecture slides are never enough and I always find myself worrying about the depth I need to cover. So this is where VESPAs come in and it’s one of the huge reasons that I love studying in Monash University. I have never known what VESPA stood for (expect an update if I do find out) but it’s basically a study group where seniors from a year above guide juniors a year below them. Juniors get their questions answered and seniors present revision PowerPoint slides with the main takeaways from lecture slides that sometimes tell way too much or too little.

I’m just going to take this paragraph to shameless gush about MAMSA (Malaysian Medical Student Association). MAMSA, to me, is the reason why studying Medicine in a foreign land isn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. We’re made up of medical students from Monash and Melbourne University. We have our own VESPAs every week and two to three revision lectures per semester. We also have many social events! It’s different when you meet people who speak Manglish abroad; they became my safety net.

Truth be told, I’ve still got a lot of Melbourne left to explore as the workload is never-ending and the city is a 40-minute train ride away. However, for the little that I’ve seen, Melbourne is a lovely place. Thanks to its cultural diversity, the food in Melbourne is A++. Heads up for the massive meal portions which can feed two and free food everywhere! There are also various festivals going on all the time. I honestly think that Australia houses some of the friendliest people on the planet – any random person you meet on the street would go out of their way to direct you to your destination or give you suggestions about the events there are to enjoy. Strangely enough, I feel both abroad and at home in Melbourne. There’s just that perfect balance – or maybe it’s because there are just way too many Asians.

Come find me if you do come to Melbourne! I always seem over-excited at first but I really just love meeting new people. I’ll definitely try my best to answer your queries if you ever need help. Random note: be prepared to learn to cook if you’re looking to save $$!

Good luck! Or as the Aussies say – Chookas!


The writer, who chose to be anonymous, is now a second year Medical student at Monash University, Australia.

Michaelmas Term as a First Year Medic

The Medical Library at University of Cambridge

The Medical Library at University of Cambridge

This post might be a bit late, but better late than never right? :p Anyways, as of the time of writing, I’ve finished my first term at Cambridge, so that leaves me with 17 more terms to go before I graduate! It’s been one heck of a roller coaster ride, but I must say that I’ve enjoyed it tremendously (even though I would probably do some things a bit differently if I had the chance to go back in time). There were good days (thanks friends) and there were bad days too (boo essays), but at the end of the day, everything that happened taught me something, and that’s all that matters.

Things didn’t always go the way I wanted them to; for example I told myself that I would organise my time really well and have time to play badminton every week and go to the gym 3 times a week, but that obviously did not happen. I told myself I would be a social butterfly, but perhaps such a drastic change from being an introvert is impossible. Also, I think that there is a culture gap that has complicated things. As someone who is more accustomed to the relatively conservative Malaysian culture, I’m not really the kind of person who likes to go clubbing, but 90% of the people here do (that’s a rough estimate based on the people I know).

Let me tell you right now that the stories you hear about workload at Cambridge are not exaggerations. I have had at least 3 essays every week (with some exceptions when they were replaced with MCQs etc.), and coupled with all the practicals, I’ve been really busy. It didn’t help that I suck at managing my time and focusing on work, so that made things a lot more difficult than they should have been. Hopefully things improve in the coming terms.

If I have any advice to give, it’s this: time management is EXTREMELY important. If you can focus on your work when you have to, you can then enjoy guiltlessly when you want to. As always, I can be contacted in various ways, namely Facebook (Victor Teh), Twitter (@Zenxenitious) and ask.fm (ask.fm/zenxenitious). Just drop me a message or something and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.


Victor TehVictor Teh is a first year medic in the University of Cambridge. His phone is permanently on flight mode but you can always catch him online

http://beautybucketlist.blogspot.com/2013/09/packing-for-university-things-you-need.html

To Stuff or not to Stuff that in?

That is the Question.

Pack light like Mike!

Pack light like Mike!

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Packing can be a long and arduous process and — I’ll admit — even infuriating at times, especially if you’re going abroad. This means that once you’ve forgotten to pack that favorite poster you need to look at before going to bed every day, you will not be sleeping for weeks, until you get used to not having it. We wouldn’t want to trouble our parents to mail us expensive parcels now do we?

Pack early.

Or at least think about what to pack at least 2 weeks prior to your departure date. When you finally get down to business, you’ll realize that there’re far more things to pack than you had initially thought of.

Essentials first!

The most important things are your documents — passport, visa, health records, flight ticket, and other documents without which you will be barred from boarding the flight or enrolling into university. Bring also sufficient cash to last until you open a bank account. Christians, pack your bibles!

Don’t bring your stuffed animal!

Just kidding, but only if it fits, and only if you’ve sworn to never part with Teddy (or Hippo). Or else do consider this option. It’ll save you a whole lot more space in that luggage.

Forget (some) electronics.

Apart from laptops, cellphones and their adapters and chargers, do not attempt to bring appliances such as an iron or a toaster or a hair dryer. The type of voltage differs from country to country, and you’re better off without all that weight anyway. If you need to be more convinced of the hassle involved, here.

I know you’ll miss your local food…

But don’t. Well all right, you can bring a few pieces of Teluk Intan heong peah if you’d like but ONLY A FEW.

Medical needs

Health care could cost a lot more in the UK and USA than in Malaysia. Do make sure you have a working health insurance plan throughout your course of study. Stow items (e.g. medicine) critical to your health in your carry-on bag and NOT your checked bag.

Winter clothing

Many experienced folks have said that it’s advisable to buy them when you’re there. Winter clothing sold overseas is much cheaper and apparently trendier than the ones here. When you’re overseas, also look out for garage sales where people sell off things they no longer need at really low prices.

Number of checked baggage allowed

In my case, we were only allowed one checked baggage per passenger. You are strongly advised to check with the airlines you will be flying with before packing.

Deciding what to put in the checked bag and the carry-on bag.

Some items are prohibited in one but allowed in the other; some items will not be allowed on board at all. Please do refer to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) webpage for a detailed list of prohibited items. Link here.

Your carry-on bag should contain the most important things i.e. passport, travel documents, money, jewellery, other irreplaceable expensive items, laptops and other electronics. You might want to bring an extra set of clothes and underwear just in case there happens to be a delay with retrieving your checked bag.

Check the current temperature of the place you’re bound for.

Dress appropriately for the climate. Bring along an extra jacket in your carry-on bag so that the weather does not take you by surprise.

No lithium in the checked bag.

Temperature or pressure changes on the plane may cause leaks or fires. To quote the American Airlines webpage, “Spare lithium, lithium-ion batteries of any kind are not allowed in checked baggage. Spare lithium, lithium-ion batteries for devices such as laptops, cell phones and cameras must be packed in carry-on baggage with the terminals covered/insulated.”

Ensure that your laptops, cellphones, iPads and tablets have sufficient charge before leaving for the airport.

US-bound passengers will be required to switch on their electronics before boarding. Failure to power your devices up will result in confiscation. This precaution was imposed in response to possible threats of terrorism. More details here.

Google for college checklists.

You might already have a checklist of items to pack but college checklists on the net could still be a great help to remind you of things that might have slipped your mind. Most of them, though, are extensive, and include things that are unnecessary or impractical for an international student to stuff them all into a TINY 28-inch luggage. Nevertheless, use it as a GUIDE. Here’s one.

Travel arrangements

Make sure you plan an itinerary before leaving your home country. This includes your temporary accommodation and the means of transport to commute from one place to another. There are many options when it comes to accommodation. I would suggest that you ask a few upperclassmen if you could stay at one of their places because this is likely to be cheaper. Else, you can opt for student youth hostels at a lower price than hotels. I was told that hotels around the university might double, triple or even quadruple their rates at peak seasons like this but if all else fails, it is still a viable last resort.

Rule of thumb: pack light! Toss out things you can afford to live without or learn to live without them. Leave some items to be bought after you arrive. Keep repacking to narrow down your list of things until the most essential ones fit snugly into your bag.

In the end you’re bound to have something you just wish you could bring. You might even go as far as attempting to use the Undetectable Extension Charm on your bag. Here’s where learning economics might make you feel better, or worse, — depending on how you see it — but either way, you will definitely be more accepting of the situation: you will concede to the economic reality of opportunity costs, that human wants are disproportionately greater than available resources to satisfy those wants.

Good luck!

Jacqueline Wong


Jacqueline Wong

Jacqueline Wong Huey Yean never (erm, rarely) gets tired of ice-cream, Hong Kong dramas, green tea, doodling and theology. She majors in economics at the University of California, Berkeley, though she secretly wants to be a graphic designer one day. To glorify God and enjoy Him forever is the chief end of this wretched sinner, saved by amazing grace.

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/preparing-to-go/advice-for-parents/preparing-for-their-leaving/

What’s Next When Your Offer Turns Unconditional?

http://degreesearch.org/blog/packing-for-college-from-a-to-z/

What’s the A-Z list of what to do after receiving your unconditional offer?

Preparing For Uni?  Stop Stressing Out!

University is a big word. It is a big word because it carries so much determination, expectation and accomplishment with it wherever it goes. If you aim to go to university, then you probably know the feeling it evokes when you even think about it.

There’s stage 1, where all you do is think about it, it’s like a crush that never goes away. With stage 1, you continue to work hard to achieve the grades you need.  After that comes stage 2, which is when you actually get accepted to University.  This is the beginning of what seems like a never-ending preparation for 3 or 4 years of your life. It is, however, not as never-ending as it may seem at first. To put it into perspective, so many before you have done it, so why can’t you? Fret not, I’m here to help.


Step 1: A basic Google search

As the acceptance letter sits beautifully on your now very cluttered desk, you need to start finding out more about where you’re going. Of course, you will have (hopefully) already done this before you applied. However, there’s always something new to discover or learn about a place. I’ve been in Malaysia my whole life but it seems like there’s always a new spot in the city to hang out in. Start with the University itself, followed by an online exploration of the city that you’ll be living in. This includes the weather.

If you feel unsatisfied with a basic Google search, start making friends. Most Universities create Facebook groups and Twitter accounts. There are usually even Facebook groups for your on campus accommodation, if you choose to live on campus. This way, you get to meet or at least talk to some your fellow freshers. I have found that this is the best way to shake off a bit of the pre-University nerves. You get to meet loads of people that are in the same place as you which makes you feel less alone in this uphill battle. You might even get to meet some people that you may already know, or people that are flying off to university from the same country as you.

More often than not, these Facebook groups and Twitter accounts allow you to ask as many questions as you want about the university and the city. You’ll get current students answering your questions personally. So ask away – ask about the city, ask about the campus, ask about the best places to hang out in. As a student, sometimes the best answers comes from other students because they know what a student might be interested in. A travel website can tell you the best places to visit as a tourist, but a fellow student can tell you the best places to visit on a student budget.

Step 2: Getting Your Visa Done

The answer to your question is yes, it is stressful, but only if you don’t know where to start. Take it from me, you should ask the people who have already been through the process. There is a 100% chance that they will tell you that the process isn’t as stressful as it seems on paper. First, find the Visa websites for the country you’re going to and find out which type of Visa you will be needing.

If you’re planning on studying in the UK, you will most likely need a Tier 4 Visa. Here’s a website that will guide you out of the abyss and hopefully get you a successful Visa application – http://www.vfsglobal.co.uk/malaysia/. You can also ring Malaysian British Educational Cooperation Services (MABECS) and their consultants will answer all your queries regarding your UK Visa Applications. The contact details can be found HERE

Upon receiving your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studience (CAS) from your university, you will have to submit an online application. Fill in the online form, get a tuberculosis test done from the assigned centers (there is a specific list approved by the UKBA which can be found HERE), make an appointment with the Visa office and make sure you have all your documents. Last but not least, show up for your appointment on time! All of this is stated on the website given. After all that, you’re all set!

Step 3: Shopping & Packing

There’s a reason ‘check the weather’ is included in step 1. In order to go shopping, you need to know what to buy and what you already have. Otherwise, you will be spending loads of money on things that you probably won’t need. Keep track of weather forecasts so you know if you’ll need a jumper or a hat. Know yourself before you shop or pack. The golden rule of packing is asking yourself the following: “Am I going to shop there?” If you’re anything like me, you probably will. Aim to be financially and spatially savvy, do some research, ask around, compare the prices of clothing items in the country you’re in and in the country you’re going to. Chances are, super thick coats are probably more expensive in tropical Malaysia than freezing-cold England. You can also take it to another level and find out when all the sales are.

When packing, take a minute to explore your room and reevaluate your belongings. What do you really use and need on a daily basis? Is there ever a time that you’re going to need that particular thing? If not, then why bring it along? Remember, you are charged a whole lot of money for excess baggage. To ensure you’ve packed right, ask someone else to go through your luggage i.e your mother. They’ll probably nitpick and ask questions, and if you can’t answer why you need a particular item, then you don’t need it! And never ever choose last minute packing as an option – I did and I have regretted it since.

Lastly, weigh your luggage before you leave for the airport. Missing your flight and/or paying extra money is not a fun start for the long journey you have ahead of you.

Step 4: Flying Off

Before leaving for the airport, do the usual check your parents always do before a trip. Passport, travel documents, boarding pass, medication, cash, a book or two, gadgets. Make sure that you have everything you need before your journey. Make sure that you are at the airport at least 2 hours before your departure time.

Ultimately, begin your journey with a positive attitude and embrace the adventure. Even though for some it may seem purely academic, you’re still embarking on a new adventure every time you do something new.

And remember, university preparation doesn’t have to be stressful. So many others have done it before you and they’ve made it through. So, start Google-ing!


Hasmah
Siti Hasmah Charles Mok is an 18 year old adventure enthusiast. She will be  studying law at  the University of Sussex in Brighton. She’s obsessed with film, books, music and everything fashion. If you ever see her, do say hi!