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Multi-Cultural Experience in Singapore for IMU Students

09 Apr 2014

An IMU Student, Chin Jia May, had the opportunity to do her internship at Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore from 25 March – 18 May 2013. Here, she relates her multi-cultural experience during the internship. “I was very fortunate to be able to participate in the student mobility programme and to have an internship partner who is also my course mate, Shirley. We had always been supportive to one another. After our active correspondence with the laboratory manager, we began our two months internship in a different country with much excitement. This was our very first working experience in a diagnostic laboratory of a well-known hospital abroad. It was such an honour and great opportunity for us to broaden our horizons before we step into society. Read less Background of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore Tan Tock Seng Hospital is one of Singapore’s largest multi-disciplinary hospitals with more than 160 years of pioneering medical care and development. This hospital has 36 clinical and allied health departments, 15 specialist centres, a rehabilitation centre and is powered by more than 6000 healthcare staff. It became well-known because it was designated as a treatment centre during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic which struck Singapore in 2003, and turned into a diagnostic centre for SARS-suspected patients. Besides that, Tan Tock Seng hospital promoted The Art of Healing Programme in 2006 to soothe patients’ mind and aid them on their recovery by using arts such as art exhibitions or performances regularly. Tan Tock Seng Hospital is also a well-known teaching hospital especially for student attachment or housemanship to hone one’s practical skills. People The people we met in the diagnostic laboratory made our internship programme wonderful. They were so nice to us, teaching us with great passion and patience. Every trainer we had encountered was very friendly. The staffs in the laboratory were of different races like in Malaysia; different country origin such as Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and of course, Malaysia! One of my trainers, Mr Maung, who had been working in Tan Tock Seng Hospital for more than 15 years, taught me a lesson on how to live a more meaningful life. He had shared a few of his stories from his country with me. Another trainer from Hong Kong had a different accent of English from that of Singaporeans, so I took a longer time to familiarise with the accent. However, we did not experience any culture shock which would have been expected if we were in a western country. Besides this, their spirit of teamwork had amazed us too! We learnt to take responsibility in our work, and to help each other out when workload was heavy. Food Singapore is a place where a variety of delicious food can be found, and there are quite a few restaurants located inside the hospital. A hawker centre called ‘Kopitiam’, Subway and even Starbucks can be found there. We were given a discount card when we collected documents in the HR department and this could be used in the ‘Kopitiam’. We were attracted to two shopping centres situated beside the hospital which offered an even larger selection of restaurants. To our pleasant surprise, the microbiology principal treated us to a meal on the last day of our internship. That flattered us indeed! Anyway, we still missed and love the food from our home country the most. Environment The Tan Tock Seng hospital provides a very pleasant environment for patients to rest and the hospital staff to work comfortably. There is a small garden on the second level of the hospital, where patients can take a walk and breathe in the fresh air. The medical staff could also take a short break or have their lunch at the garden. Entertainment During the internship, we went to a few famous tourist attractions. The very first and not-to-be missed places are Orchard Road and Bugis street, which are a shopping paradise and chock-full of tourists every day! We also went to the art museum, the Peranakan museum and a popular botany garden, called the ‘Garden by the Bay’. We got to listen to the light performances at night, which was amazing. We promised ourselves that we would visit again! sing 1   singapore4 Lesson Learnt Other than gaining knowledge, all of our learning outcomes were achieved. I experienced the spirit of teamwork; where it felt more like a family than a working team because everyone was so helpful. I felt very comfortable and thoroughly enjoyed working in such an environment. Another important lesson I learnt is not to force myself to work if I am not feeling well. I had experienced food poisoning, and I would have easily made mistakes under this condition which could result in dire consequences. Lastly, we managed to fully appreciate that even if we are just working behind the scenes, we still relish being part of a team that saves lives.

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