I am Annette Nangendo Zake, an international student from Uganda currently in my final semester of the Pharmaceutical Chemistry programme at International Medical University (IMU). It is amazing how time flies when you realised you are almost done with your first degree and look back on how you started your journey.
Being one who wanted to study abroad out of curiosity about the education system of another country plus exploring the different cultures and lifestyle, Malaysia did not really come to mind. When I think about how I found myself in Malaysia, the credit would have to go to my brother who was already in the country (in another university though), pursuing his masters. His love for Malaysia made me wonder what he found in it that made him not want to come back home for the holidays. I came across the IMU website where I stumbled upon this programme and applied with the hope of being accepted. To my surprise, I was accepted and found myself coming to Malaysia in September, 2012.
IMU is like a small community where you can get to see some diversity as people from different countries come here with the hope of pursuing their dreams. I have met people from different countries like Mauritius, Kenya, Gambia, Nigeria, Myammar, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Australia and so on. This made me feel like I was not the only alien in a foreign country.
The education system in Malaysia is quite different from what I was used to back home, for example, the PBL (problem based learning) sessions that made you think outside the box and get a feel of what to expect in the real world when you start working.
The course didn’t only focus on the areas related to pharmaceutical industry but also other areas like oleochemistry, engineering, formulations, ethics which showed that more than one road is set for the students to venture on. University life can be hectic but it did not stop me from taking part in co-curricular activities.I had the privilege of taking part in swimming for IMU Cup 2013 and 2014 where Draco House was the winning team.
I consider KL to be a beautiful ‘busy’ city but I also have a soft spot for Malacca. The first time I went there was in Semester 1 and I instantly fell in love with how peaceful it was. I went back with friends in Semester 5 to take a tour around Malacca city, seeing the historic sites, trying out their famous cendol, coconut milkshakes and durian puffs at Jonker street and generally appreciating the diversity there as well. Other places that I have visited were Genting Highlands, the famous KLCC Twin Towers and the list is endless.
It is a relief knowing that I am finishing my degree this year (2015) but this is definitely not the end of my journey as a scientist. Given the opportunity, I would like to further my studies with the hopes of getting involved in research and development.