My four-year journey as an IMU Chinese Medicine Programme student started back in 2014. Back then, I was very fortunate and blessed, to be awarded with the IMU Scholarship giving me full tuition fee waiver for my studies. This allows me to pursue my studies without burdening my parents especially since both of them have retired from work. Also, as I am the eldest in the family, I have two more younger siblings who have yet to graduate from university.
Before joining the university, I have been joining St John Ambulance of Malaysia since high school, and it has taught me much, not only on first-aid skills but also shaped me to voluntarily help people in need with their motto “for the service of mankind”. Since then, it is my hope to enrol into a degree that could provide me a platform to help the suffering regain happiness and health. Many options were offered to me when I completed my pre-university programme, and due to strong curiosity of the long history of Chinese philosophy, evolution and essence of one of the oldest form of medicine in the world, I chose to venture into the IMU Chinese Medicine programme. The Chinese Medicine programme in IMU has been designed in a way comprising of 70% Chinese Medicine subjects to 30% Western Medicine subjects, which makes it compulsory for its students to study and understand the basic sciences concept and terms. IMU, which has been established for 26 years, has a very solid foundation in its medical programme and that is an added strong point on the uniqueness of the programme compared to other universities that offer similar programmes. The curriculum in IMU has been designed with not only lectures and examinations, but with various workshops, discussion and presentations which trained all of us to develop our critical thinking and public speaking skills, both skills that are important soft skills when dealing with our future patients besides having good and strong foundation of knowledge in our field. I still recall how nervous I was during my very first presentation in my first year (although it was a simple presentation on a topic of the Foundation of Chinese Medicine subject), and compared to the way I confidently presented my final year research project report to my lecturers and peers. As the programme has a relatively small intake of students compared to the larger batch such as medicine, dentistry and pharmacy programmes, it has a benefit of a more student-centered and focused teaching by the programme lecturers. Besides, with a small group of peers, we became very close to each other and managed to back each other up whenever there is a need to do so. With the mentor-mentee system that IMU adopts, I have to thank my mentor, Wong Zhi Hang, for his constant support and advice to me throughout my studies where he was there during my lowest and provide useful advice and encouragement whenever I required help on making a decision. It makes us feel like IMU is our second home where we can head back to whenever we needed that comfort, with lecturers being very supportive of their students. As a graduate completing my studies completely in IMU, during our 4th year of studies, we are required to be student interns at the Chinese Medicine Centre of IMU Healthcare, which has been providing us practical skills training opportunities. Besides, the programme has arranged a community work session on Sundays with Chi Hui Tang at Seri Kembangan Community Centre, to allow more practical sessions opportunities to prepare student interns before graduation. Although the Chinese Medicine programme has been a small community in IMU, but it has been a very active community organising activities in the university. For instance, I have been participating in organising and helping in the IMU Chinese Medicine Week for three years straight from 2015 to 2017, and been participated in the IMU Chinese Medicine Field Trip 2016. It is ultimately up to an individual on how much they would like to maximise their time while being in a university. Throughout my university time, I have been part of the IMU Scholars Committees, since 2014 and being their president on the term of 2015/2016, as an IMU Student Ambassador 2016/2017 and being chosen as the Leader of the Year, as an IMU Senior Student Ambassador 2017/2018. I have also been involved in various community service projects, notably organising a community service trip to Sri Lanka recently in July 2018 under the IMU Community Service Club.
Moving on, I will be continuing my Masters programme in Traditional Chinese Medicine Osteopathology Traumatology in Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SHUTCM). I thank all the supportive IMU administrative staff and lecturers for their constant support during the application and fortunately I managed to obtain a full scholarship from the China Government Council to further my studies there.
I would like to personally thank Prof Lin Xun, the current Dean of International Education College of SHUTCM, who was a former Head of Department and lecturer in IMU Chinese Medicine Department and has helped and advise me well throughout the application period. I am very grateful to be who I am today. Partly my growing process was because of IMU’s Chinese Medicine programme and its learning environment. I am thankful to all the lecturers, colleagues and peers who have been accompanying and supporting me throughout my university degree life. To sum it all up, my four-year journey being in the IMU Chinese Medicine Programme was a memorable and fulfilling one, which will be a treasured memory of my lifetime. Written by: Sng Kim Sia (CM114) Related article: Volunteering in the Chi Hui Tang Community Service Educating and Empowering Sri Lankan Primary School Children – Project Connected 2018: Sri Lanka