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Making the Best of Both Worlds: How IMU and University of Tasmania Are Making Malaysians Succeed in Pharmacy

03 Aug 2020

Are you a student who are looking beyond borders for the completion of your degree? Are you looking into broadening your cultural and social perspectives? If these are what you are looking for, you will also benefit studying a quality education from International Medical University (IMU) and University of Tasmania (UTAS). This is what Joelynn Lim Dao Yee was looking for in her quest to obtain a pharmacy degree. Joelynn has always had great passion in healthcare ever since she was young and for her, Pharmacy was the one that stood out the most. She was drawn to this career due to her curiosity and interest in various medications and how they work in the human body.

When asked on how the programme had helped her in her overall development, Joelynn said, “I think the pharmacy programme has thought me how important discipline is when we’re pursuing our passion. Besides, I felt more confident with my ability to communicate as I progressed through the semesters. I also learned to manage my time wisely between studies and other activities as this programme demanded a certain amount of time self-studying. Also, I feel that this programme really trained me to be a good communicator especially since the Pharmacy profession requires me to provide good counseling for people in need.”

Her university mate, Esther Chuah Sze Ern was recommended to IMU by her uncle who happens to be an alumnus of the IMU Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm) programme. She also chose to study pharmacy at IMU because of its reputation as a well-known medical university. Recalling her learning experience at IMU, Esther said, “IMU’s BPharm programme not only required students to perform well in the written examination but also in communication and extemporaneous dispensing skills. Other than that, both the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and Problem – based Learning (PBL) sessions helped me brush up on my communication skills and practical knowledge. Meanwhile, our dispensing skills were tested after an entire semester of practice in the lab.” The girls started their undergraduate studies in pharmacy at the International Medical University in Malaysia and subsequently after two years of study,  transferred to the University of Tasmania in Australia for the completion of the degree. “Studying the first two years of the programme in IMU was a privilege and although it wasn’t an easy journey for me, each challenge made me stronger and more resilient. From lectures to problem-based learning and OSCE sessions, I was given the opportunity to learn more about subjects such as Pharmaceutics, Cardiovascular System, Medicinal Chemistry and General Pharmacology. Also, I witnessed myself defeating each and every fear I had about exams and the amount of information we need to study and apply in this programme. When I came to UTAS, it was easier to continue my studies as I’ve already built a strong foundation back in IMU”, said Gavithra Sivabalan, another student who went through this pathway. The three girls feel that they are so lucky to get the best possible start at IMU. “Whether you plan to transfer or not, never forget your roots and always strive to be your best possible self. Nothing ever comes easy and we should always approach challenges with a growth mindset. Take each demanding task one day at a time and follow through with what the lecturers are trying to teach. Attend all your classes and do the extra reading that they assign you to because every bit counts and Pharmacy is not just about passing your exams. You won’t get this chance again so use your time productively to explore and learn the contents of each semester. If you plan to transfer, never disregard the experience and advice that your seniors and lecturers provide. Last but not least, be humble and true to the profession as we’re all here with a common goal to make lives better for our future patients and the community. Let your passion be the driving force!” “The move from IMU to UTAS was easier than I had expected. Upon arrival, I completed a transition module which gave me an idea about the contents, learning style and what was expected of me here. Throughout the first semester, we had lectures and workshops to build our confidence in Therapeutics, Pharmacy Skills in Practice and Clinical Pharmacy Research and I’m excited to explore the second-half of the modules in the subsequent semester. I’m also grateful for the mini quizzes and mid-semester exams as these motivate me to be consistent with my efforts. Despite the challenges around Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve been able to cope well with online classes and exams under the guidance of my lecturers. The small class size here also helps in a way that lecturers are able to respond to our emails faster and provide quicker help and attention when needed”, added Gavithra Sivabalan.

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