Undoubtedly, my journey of credit transfer was a truly unique experience, marked by a series of unexpected changes and twists. It wasn’t always smooth sailing. It all began when I enrolled in IMU’s Bachelor of Pharmacy (Hons) credit transfer programme to the University of Otago, New Zealand, in 2019.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic and New Zealand’s border closure forced me to make a challenging decision. I had to choose between taking a gap year, switching to the University of Tasmania (UTAS) in Australia, or staying on the local track and completing the entire degree at IMU. After much contemplation and hesitation, I decided that continuing with UTAS was the best choice for me. Do I regret this decision? The answer is a resounding no. Instead, I am grateful for all the support I’ve received during my two years here.
Before delving further into my life as a student at UTAS, let’s discuss life in Tasmania, Australia. Since I made the decision to move to Tasmania, the most common question I’ve encountered is, “Why Tasmania?” often followed by the statement, “There’s not much to do in Tasmania.” This is a great opportunity to answer that question and provide an insight into life in Tasmania. It’s true that there isn’t much in terms of nightlife here; most things close around 9 pm.
However, the natural beauty that Tasmania offers more than compensates for it. I’ve hiked the same trails multiple times, and the experience and scenery never fail to amaze me. Life in Tasmania is relatively relaxed and not very hectic, making it less stressful (at least for me).
Now, what about the people in Tasmania? This is another concern for people moving to a foreign place. Honestly, they are perhaps the nicest and most supportive group of people I’ve ever encountered. Meeting new people can be intimidating, especially for an introvert like me. Joining a class midway through the course doesn’t make it any easier; walking into a room full of strangers who already know each other can be daunting. Initially, I hesitated to approach my peers, but I’m glad I eventually got to know them. No matter how intimidating they may seem at first, you never truly know them until you make an effort to get acquainted with them.
Now, let’s return to the life of a student at UTAS. It’s certainly different compared to life at IMU, from the number of class hours to the teaching and learning methods. At IMU, classes typically run from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. So, you can imagine my surprise when I found out that I only needed to attend classes for approximately 9 hours a week at UTAS. However, this reduced class time leads to a difference in how lectures are delivered. In IMU, most of the necessary knowledge is provided in class by dedicated lecturers. In contrast, UTAS employs a self-directed learning approach. Lecture notes are posted online, and you’re expected to review them at your own pace – only attending workshops and practicals. This also means that extra readings are often required to better understand the material.
Before you assume that the reduced class hours compromise the quality, it’s worth noting that UTAS provides ample exposure through placements (approximately 9 weeks of placements in 2 years), hospital clinical rounds every 2 weeks, and numerous case studies throughout the course. This approach also allows you to practice and enhance your skills through activities like part-time or volunteer work at a community pharmacy. Personally, I find this approach beneficial for applying knowledge in the real world as a pharmacist.
In my view, both IMU and UTAS have their own strengths and weaknesses with their contrasting approaches. It’s important to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all learning style. For those contemplating which university or pathway to pursue for their healthcare aspirations, IMU offers a wealth of opportunities, whether in terms of the breadth of knowledge, practical experience, or credit transfer programmes with partner universities.
Regardless of your chosen pathway, whether local or credit transfer, you can expect a high-quality education. To those who may be hesitant about credit transfer programmes, I offer this advice:
“Do not fear change. Challenges are an inherent part of change, but this transition can catalyze exponential personal and professional growth.”
In conclusion, my journey of credit transfer from IMU to UTAS has been a remarkable and transformative experience. It has expanded my horizons, deepened my understanding of pharmacy, and equipped me with the skills needed for success in my future career. Ultimately, I’ve come to appreciate that the journey itself, with all its twists and turns, has played a crucial role in shaping me into the aspiring pharmacist I am today.
Written by Ven Yin, Leong (BP 1/19)