17 October 2015 – A one-day field trip to Ipoh was organised by the IMU’s Chinese Medicine Department. All students from the IMU Chinese Medicine programme were encouraged to join this experiential learning activity. The itinerary was carefully planned with multiple points of interest being identified to ensure students receive maximum rewards through this day trip. During the morning session, students visited the Herbal Garden of the Perak State (Taman Herba Negeri Perak) and Gaharu Tea Valley, Gopeng. At the herbal garden, students were excited to see various local herbs with their names and functions being labelled. It was an unforgettable experience as they were able to touch, smell and taste the fresh herbs. At the same time, it was a good way to allow students to recall and connect what they had learnt in the Chinese Materia Medica module with real life examples. Additionally, students had a great experience at the Gaharu Tea Valley. They learnt more about the Chen Xiang（沉香）, which is an important herb in Chinese Medicine. From this visit, students realised that planting and processing this herb required a lot of painstaking efforts.
In the afternoon, visits to ZhongHua Hospital, PuTi Medical Center and RenAi Hospital were an eye opener to students, as students were given the opportunity to observe the management of traditional Chinese Medicine business at the grass root level. Students were also able to observe Chinese Medicine physicians making diagnosis, performing acupuncture and cupping as well as prescribing herbs to patients.
Students now understood that it is indeed challenging for charitable organisations such as these hospitals to manage and maintain their services. Owing to increases in expenditure, these organisations would have to find ways to cope with the growing patient load without sacrificing the quality of the services. Undeniably, the services provided to the patients are fairly good and satisfactory.
It is indeed a valuable experience for all the Chinese Medicine students who were involved in this field trip. On top of gaining significant understanding of Chinese Medicine operations in the real world, students and teachers have also formed stronger ties through this field trip. The most significant gain from this trip is that the senior and junior cohorts of students are now closely bonded.
Students also appreciated the efforts that the IMU Chinese Medicine faculty has put in, hence enabling the successful organisation of this trip. All in all, it is a meaningful and memorable field trip for everyone who was involved. This article is written by CM214 scholar, Tea Wee Chia and reviewed by her senior Sng Kim Sia and Chinese Medicine Programme Director, Wong Hon Foong.