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Life of an International Postgraduate Student at IMU

20 May 2020

I am Laila Rajper, from a small village named Cheeho in the southeast of Pakistan. I graduated with my degree from Hamdard University Karachi and decided to go for postgraduate studies in Public Health. While doing online applications in different universities, a very dear friend suggested International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur to me. For a person who is experiencing studying overseas for the first time, it can feel very daunting to prepare everything and move to a new country with a totally different environment and culture. You might feel uneasy to meet new people from different backgrounds, and the teaching and learning style might not be the same as your previous education experience. Most students feel this way and so did I.

 My Life as a Full-time Graduate Student at IMU
My journey at International Medical University (IMU) began when I started my MSc in Public Health. I chose IMU because of its reputation in the field of health sciences as well as its English-speaking environment which allowed me to settle down easily with my fellow students and faculty members. The teaching style for postgraduate students at IMU was unique for me. I only have 2-3-hour class per day, most of the days per week. The course is designed not to engage students in too many lectures as it allows students to study independently. It turns out that the course flexibility, allows me to study according to my preference, location, and resources; hence, I find that I study more effectively. I had been a full-time graduate student with no obligations other than going to class, so I had the advantage of spending more time on reading and learning new things. Without a doubt, IMU has an amazing library which provided me with books and online recourses alongside courteous staff and a cozy environment, a place where I spent most of time, while reading about my research. During my course I had learned a lot of new things, practically and theoretically, which helped me in the course of doing research work for my final thesis project. Choosing a research topic was hectic and a completely new experience for me at that time, however, I managed to select dissertation topic with the help of my mentor, who solved the distorted puzzle and gave me a clear picture of, what I wanted to do.

I  have achieved things that I could never imagine as an individual who started all over again after a decade, I managed to sit through my exams, I managed, through shaking limbs, to present my research in a room full of professors and doctors, I managed to get positive feedback which helped me follow my path towards a PhD. Today I am proudly holding an offer for PhD in Health Sciences from a prestigious institution in the UK. It is only possible because of the confidence my teachers gave me at IMU, the training I received during the research methodology seminars and module which helped to me write a research proposal in detail, which the professors actually liked and appreciated during the PhD placement interview.

A MSc in Public Health graduate shares her journey as a postgraduate student at IMU.

IMU made me the person I am today, if I could go back in time, I would give myself a tight hug for making this life changing decision. Being in IMU wasn’t always a smooth journey for me, as I suffered mentally and emotionally from being homesick for months, so I would like to take this opportunity to advice all the students to reach out your lecturers, university counselling service, family and friends if you need any help during this unsettling time in the university. I wish all the best to you all may your journey where makes you the person you have always dreamed. My university life gave me plenty of opportunities to explore the Malaysian government institutions during my public health practice postings and my electives. I am grateful to my mentor Dr Supathira for giving me the suggestion to do my thesis project at government facility, which provided me a great experience. Apart from studies, I loved the multicultural events in IMU, I enjoyed Malay, Chinese and Indian festivals, cuisine, plays and dance performances as well as the opportunity to celebrate Deepavali and Chinese New Year which I never did before. I feel lucky that I’m writing about my IMU experience today, as it brought back my entire journey and I am enjoying all that moments today, which I never considered important. Despite all its ups and downs, I have embraced this challenge to get out from my comfort zone, to be transformed, and to create a better version of myself. Onwards and upwards! And if you asked me about what it really takes to get a postgraduate degree, my answer would be self-motivation!

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