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Meaningful Global Experience for IMU Pharmacy Degree Students

22 Jul 2021

L-R : Chin Wen Yee (student), Supervisor affiliate, Ng Wen Ying (student), Dr Vanni (Supervisor 1) 

In today’s highly competitive globalised economy, employers often seek employees who have some international experience, as such an employee would bring with him/her a whole new level of cultural and global understanding. This has resulted in many graduates being keen to pursue their studies which would provide them with this international experience. Having this experience can give these graduates an added advantage by academically and socially enriching their university experience, broadening their perspectives on global opportunities, international work culture and knowledge, widening their networking opportunities and enhancing their employment prospects.

With this in mind, the International Medical University had incorporated an opportunity for its pharmacy students to gain global experiences through elective or research placements in UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore, with each student given a guaranteed financial support, to meet either part or full travel expenses.  This is important and a key part of the students’ university experience as it provides an integration of knowledge and theory with skills and practical application in community or professional settings, ensuring that the transition from university to the working environment would be as seamless as possible.

A student, Ng Wen Ying, who chose to carry out a research project in Tasmania has this to say about the experience.

“A unique feature in year three of the Pharmacy programme is the opportunity for the students to gain global exposure through the overseas research experience. I was able to carry out my research project at University of Tasmania, Australia as I chose to work on a collaborative research proposal and spent 10 weeks in Tasmania which eventually led to a research publication in a reputed journal. “This overseas opportunity gave me loads of learning experience which has groomed me holistically. My research work was also supported by a research grant from IMU and students can also apply for the mobility fund. Tasmania was without a doubt, an experience of a lifetime and is a memorable one. I am sure that this pioneer pharmacy programme in IMU will provide a wonderful opportunity to every student and equips the students with the skills and competencies required for the workplace.”

Photo: (L-R): Ishaq (Supervisor 2), Ng Wen Ying (student), Chin Wen Yee (student)

Another student, Woon Sze Shee also shares her experience in Taiwan and Australia.

“In my third year, all students in the local pharmacy programme were given the opportunity to gain some experience through an elective module. My friend, Grace Sen Jing Jing and I were very lucky as we were able to experience a month of hospital attachment at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taiwan with the support of our lecturers, friends and family. Through this elective, we were able to observe and apply our clinical knowledge that were obtained through the modules studied at IMU. In addition, we were able to learn the differences in terms of hospital settings and the role of pharmacists in a different country.”

“My global exposure did not end just there. In my final year, I was given another good opportunity through our research module to conduct a research project together with my friends, Yong Yu Jing and Kishen in collaboration with University of South Australia (UniSA). We learnt and used different types of laboratory equipment and experienced the dynamics of a multinational research team which were indeed a remarkable hands-on experience for us as undergraduate students.”

“Both global exposures were really some of the best parts of my undergraduate programme at IMU and this proves that even by joining the local programme, I was not limited to gaining local experience only. By taking opportunities provided by IMU such as mobility funding, I was able to gain such irreplaceable and remarkable experiences. These exposures definitely help in shaping my future in various fields of pharmacy that I could venture into, going forward. As a bonus, I was fortunate to be able to experience the diverse cultures and also explore the world while learning.”

Incorporating Digital Health Components into Pharmacy Curriculum

Besides this global opportunity for the students, in order to prepare our graduates to be work-ready and responsive in a technology-driven healthcare industry, the School of Pharmacy is committed to provide up-to-date teaching and learning experiences. In line with this, since 2019, pharmacy students have been given the opportunity to take Introduction to Healthcare Data Analytics as a selective. Besides this, the School of Pharmacy has been working hard to incorporate digital health components into the pharmacy curriculum, starting this year.

Incorporating these into the pharmacy programme are some of the School of Pharmacy’s initiatives in its innovative curriculum to prepare its graduates to be not only work-ready in Malaysia but also internationally as well.

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