Students studying the Bachelor of Pharmacy at the International Medical University (IMU) will have to undergo a semester which is devoted to research. These students have the option to go overseas to do their research project. One of the students who chose this option is Lim Ai Wei who took this opportunity to conduct her research at University of Copenhagen in Denmark. She relates to us her experience in Denmark.
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” — Leonardo da Vinci
No words could describe my Semester 7 research experience at University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark than this quote, by Leonardo da Vinci. This was my first time I have ever given the opportunity to go abroad and I had to do that all by myself. Spending two and a half months at UCPH has been a life changing experience for me. I was hungry for a change in my life and this is it. Knowing I will be in a land that is completely foreign for me, with no one that I have ever seen or known before, and zero oversea traveling experience, it was nerve wracking but exciting at the same time. What I have experienced within this period changed the way I see life and the world, and it has certainly changed the way I live, and the way I have chosen to live my life. My research topic focuses in understanding the physical properties of co-amorphous systems prepared by various methods with the aim to enhance solubility and bioavailability of poorly water soluble drugs. In the beginning, I was not confident on my capability to conduct this research, however my supervisor has been very supportive, providing introduction and advice to the project and where and what I would be expected to do during my stay in Denmark. During this time at UCPH, I witnessed and experienced a different working environment (culture, attitude and behaviour). They certainly know how to balance their work and leisure time to keep themselves healthy and happy. I met many new friendly colleagues who had given me help and support during my time at UCPH. I also had the opportunity to learn and operate some advanced equipment in order for me to carry out my research. Throughout the period, I stayed in a pension (a type of guest house or boarding house) near the university. Many of the residents there were of different nationalities, professions and age. Many were in Denmark because of work, some were there temporarily before they move to a new apartment. Many of us would have breakfast and dinner together in the dining room. This is how I met more people outside the university; they were the people whom I spent much of my free time with. This trip had given and taught me a lot about life. It taught me to be more open minded to accept new things, acknowledge different people and cultures, be courageous to get out of my comfort zone and experience life. Besides exploring Copenhagen city, I have also made short trips to Milan, Como Lake and Bellagio (Italy) for during the weekend, as well as a day trip to Malmö, Sweden. With the company of friends from the pension and university, we explored many other places in Copenhagen, went kayaking at the beach outskirt of the city and a weekend trip to Stockholm, Sweden. These people taught me to appreciate little (good) things around us and to look out for each other (despite the differences in our culture backgrounds, and personality). This trip has made me a much stronger, more open minded and happier person and has led me to a new direction in life. Upon reflection, I have no regrets for selecting this opportunity as it is now the most wonderful ‘accident’ that has ever happened to me. I am grateful to my family and the team of supervisors (Dr Norman Chieng, Korbinian Löbmann and Thomas Rades) for the opportunity and guidance. I am thankful to the people I met in the university and the pension, most importantly the wonderful memories I had with these people.”