Vivien Tan Chern Yong
How did you learn about this institution?
I initially applied to other medical universities in Malaysia and even Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) for the full 5-year course. However, after applying to RCSI, I realised that I have the option to do a twinning programme with Penang Medical College which is in my hometown. I then enquired further regarding PMC from my friends also online. I found out that I could spend the first two and a half years of the course overseas which will give me the exposure I wanted. I will then spend the last two and a half years getting used to the system here in Malaysia by way of clinical attachments.
What attracted you to pick this institution?
I found it interesting how the first half of the course is spent in Ireland and the other half, in Penang. The campus in Ireland allowed me to get exposure to Cadaveric Dissection which is rarely or almost never provided in Malaysia. That was the biggest plus point for me as I had a full anatomical experience which differed significantly from silicone human models. The overseas experience was the primary reason why I chose this university as I enjoy travelling and it was one of the best ways to build independence and gain exposure before my journey to the hectic working life.
How convenient is your campus?
The campus in Ireland was in the middle of the city thus, it was accessible to almost everything. I lived pretty close by so I was able to arrive at college in under five minutes. As for the campus in Penang, it is smack in the heart of Georgetown which makes it extremely accessible. As a Penangite, it’s easy for me to go in and out of the college especially for the library, that opens 24/7. The college is also a five-minute walk from our teaching hospital. Parking is available in the compound itself and a canteen that’s being run by the friendliest uncle in Penang.
How would you describe your course?
My course is essentially a twinning programme whereby the first two and a half years were spent in Ireland and the next two and half years in Penang, Malaysia. The first part of the course consists of the theories to build our foundation so that we can apply them during our clinical years. The latter part of this course involves us going to our teaching hospital where we will meet and interview real patients in the ward to discuss and learn about them.
What words of advice would you give to those who are intending to pursue the same course as you?
Passion is everything. It is the only thing that could wake you up in the wee hours in the morning to go to work, and the only thing keeping you awake at night when you are on call. Nobody has ever said that studying medicine is easy, and they are probably right. It is a lifetime learning experience whereby one does not simply stop taking in new information. Learning never stops as medicine keeps evolving. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted but extremely rewarding if you are passionate in helping those who are unwell.