Two International Medical University pharmacy students, Gan Chew Hong and Wong Pui Yee were trilled when they were given the opportunity to conduct thier research project in Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), UK, one of the oldest universities in the UK with an enviable reputation for quality teaching and research. They recall their good times in the UK. “Conducting our Bachelor of Pharmacy Semester 7 research project in QUB, UK was a life changing experience. We were truly overwhelmed when we received the grant from IMU to conduct research in QUB. We were thrilled with this opportunity but at the same time, we were quite hesitant about setting foot somewhere unfamiliar and of course we were concerned about the bottom line, money! Thankfully we had very good supervisors, Dr Ravi Sheshala and Dr Raghu Raj Singh who were very supportive and helpful in budgeting our living expenses throughout the project. The whole research experience in QUB was definitely memorable. Other than having the chance to work in a well-equipped lab and learning new research techniques, it was also rewarding to be able to network with professors and PhD students from another country.
It was our privilege to be able to work with Dr Raghu Raj Singh Thakur and his PhD students, Chiraq and Hannah, who are experts in drug delivery research. They were incredibly helpful in providing information and sharing their knowledge. Apart from this, we really appreciated the friendliness of the people in QUB and the fact that they directly involved all the foreign students like us in all the local activities. We were very fortunate to be given a chance to participate in a number of their research meetings and presentations.
Of course, there were also challenges for us to overcome. Every day was a new adventure that was completely different from our lives at home in Malaysia. It is very hard to stay in one’s comfort zone when living in another country. We often struggled with the different culture, learning how to communicate with new people and getting used to new learning directions, but through that, we developed a greater sense of independence and confidence in our abilities. People often ask us what our favourite memory from abroad was, but that is so hard to answer because there are so many! However, getting the opportunity to travel around Northern Ireland was definitely at the top of our list. The beauty and variety of the Northern Ireland landscape, the compact distance and the mild climate make this a wonderful place to explore on foot. During the weekends, we got to visit places like the Antrim Coast, Carrickfergus Castle, Game of Thrones, and the Giant Causeway a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Although it was just a three month stay, the whole international experience at QUB gave us a new outlook on life. We’ve not only advanced academically but also acquired greater self-confidence and a new appreciation of the world around us. This was one of the best times we ever had and greatly thankful to IMU and our supervisors, Dr Ravi Sheshala and Dr Raghu Raj Singh who made this happen. We recommend overseas travel to everyone in IMU especially to those who have always wanted to study abroad as it provides a great opportunity to gain international connections and experience a variety of cultures, languages and lifestyles.”