Raised by a family who values community service, Ong Jiaxian came to the International Medical University (IMU) with the intention to become a healthcare professional and improve people’s health with the aim of alleviating suffering and helping people in need. While studying his Foundation in Science at the University, he was awarded the Aflame Student Award by IMU Cares in 2022.
Born in Petaling Jaya, his parents have been a great influence in nurturing an interest in community service in him. His parents are active citizens who would bring him along to community activities, and relate to him their past events, stories, and experience. His parents are also very supportive of him to becoming a healthcare professional and volunteer even when it can be risky at times.
“It all began from my parents, where they would bring me with them to do various activities, such as visiting the old folk’s home and playing with the children in the orphanage. We would bring dry foods, talk to the people who live there, and even clean up the areas, providing support as much as we could. It makes me happy to do all these and it was fun.”
Mental health is as important as physical health. During Jiaxian’s volunteering times, one of the most memorable moments he could recall is giving out chocolates to the affected community during the major 2021 floods with other volunteers from different NGOs. Doing this cheered them up, and hopefully made their day better during the tough time.
Studying Foundation in Science at IMU allowed him to have the freedom and opportunity to volunteer at the Malaysian Red Crescent Society during semester breaks, take part in club or university activities, and learn from lecturers and professors from the university, even if they are from another department. This allows Jiaxian to grow better as a person, and to gain valuable experiences while providing service to the community.
Many activities that raise awareness on social issues and community service are done as well. This goes in line with the IMU core values with the acronym “TRUST”, which stands for Trustworthiness, Responsiveness, Unity, Service, and Tenacity.
IMU also has a Self Development Unit and a mentor-mentee system that further enhances students’ experience in IMU to be a better person and prepare them for university and work life.
Volunteering has taught him the importance of teamwork, which is also one aspect that the Foundation in Science programme offered by IMU aims to promote to their students using group coursework and discussions. Teamwork and respect for other people are very important in a healthcare setting to provide better care for patients.
Jiaxian intends to pursue his dream as a researcher in the healthcare field to improve general health by furthering his studies in Biomedical Science at IMU. He also thinks that it is never too late to start volunteering and that everyone should give it a try.
There are many community engagements bodies, and even IMU itself has a few. The youth is the catalyst of change and can make this world a better place, and IMU is a great place to nurture great healthcare professionals.