In an era of globalisation, it is widely acknowledged that some overseas exposure as part of a degree programme can academically and socially enrich a student’s university experience, broaden the student’s perspectives and enhance his or her employment prospects. With this in view, the International Medical University (IMU) established a Student Mobility Programme as part of its 5-year Strategic Plan to become one of the leading private universities in Asia.
At IMU, student mobility is achieved when students pursuing local undergraduate or postgraduate programmes go for external learning opportunities outside of IMU or when international students from other universities get the opportunity to experience life at IMU over a period of time. This includes study visits, internships, formal student exchange programme, research or elective modules.
Dean, School of Health Sciences who is instrumental in this initiative, Prof Winnie Chee said, “The number of students from IMU going abroad and the number of students from other countries coming to IMU is growing from year to year. Since the inception of the Student Mobility Programme at IMU, more than 2, 800 IMU students have had the opportunity to gain varied external learning experiences at various hospitals, pharmacies and other places in Malaysia and many other countries such as Taiwan, United Kingdom, Scotland, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Australia. These outgoing students are fully or partially supported financially by IMU.” “At the same time, we had about 160 students coming from many countries to IMU via the Student Mobility programme. Hosting these incoming students contributes to the internationalisation of the student body and encourage campus culture diversity as these students are from many different countries such as Kazakhstan, Australia, Indonesia, Oman, Canada and Denmark.” An IMU Biomedical Science student, Yap Yiing Jye, who completed her 8-week practical attachment in New Zealand said, “I have many fond memories of my time at the internship and certainly have no regrets for selecting this truly exceptional and wonderful learning experience. I’m sure that after I leave, with a well-earned practical attachment experience in hand, all memories will continue to occupy a special place in my life and be cherished forever. I am sincerely thankful to IMU’s Student Mobility Programme, Dr Heather Brooks, my family and everyone who made this opportunity possible.” Many of the IMU students who joined the Student Mobility Programme have found this programme to be extremely beneficial. Not only were the students be able to experience a different perspective on their academic subjects but they were also able to enhance their personal and intellectual maturity through inculcating flexibility, resilience, cross-cultural communication skills, the ability to adapt to new circumstances and to deal constructively with differences. Besides this, the students were also able to broaden their experience by living and studying abroad for a period of time. They have the opportunity to widen their academic horizons and thereby lead them to reappraise their goals. Stuart Miles, a medical student from England who did his attachment at IMU, recalls fondly of his time in Malaysia. “Over the past ten weeks, I relished the opportunity to experience medicine in a different country and environment and have enjoyed seeing the similarities and variations in clinical practice. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, split between the obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatric departments as an elective student at the IMU based at Hospital Tuanku Ja’afar, Seremban.”
“The Student Mobility Programme certainly provides its participants with a myriad of benefits, irrespective of whether the student is an outgoing or incoming mobility student. It is hoped that in the coming years, more and more students will be aware of this programme and enjoy these great benefits,” added Prof Winnie Chee.