Hi! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.

Saturday 5 May 2018

Studying overseas for the first time

On 13 April 2018, I flew to UK for Student Selected Component 3 (SSC3), which is part of Stage 4 of my MBBS course at NUMed. The SSC3 would last from 16 April until 25 May. This was definitely a new experience for me, as it was my first time studying overseas.

In the past, I disliked the idea of studying overseas. The reason was that the environment overseas is quite different from that in Malaysia and I felt that it would be difficult for me to adapt to the environment overseas.

However, both my parents were graduates from Australian universities. Since young, my family had been planning to let me study in an Australian university. I definitely didn't agree with that, but I dared not voice out my thoughts.

Years later, my family began to realise that studying in Malaysia would be a good idea, as studying overseas is much more expensive. At that point, I finally let them know that I had always preferred to study in Malaysia.

In April 2013, I was offered the JPA scholarship. At that time, my family once again talked about studying overseas. Since the JPA scholarship would sponsor for many top universities in UK and Australia, they wanted me to take advantage of that.

I made it clear to my family that I didn't want to study overseas. Eventually, they agreed to let me make the final decision myself, while I also agreed that I would still apply to overseas universities just in case I change my mind in the future.

Studying A Level at Taylor's College gave me more exposure to the outside world which I didn't have during secondary school previously. As time went on, I became more open to the idea of studying overseas.

In October 2013, I started considering the possibility of studying overseas. However, I was later rejected by all the overseas universities that I applied to, including 4 UK universities and the University of Hong Kong.

I then got offered a place by NUMed. Since all 5 years of the NUMed MBBS course are delivered in Malaysia, it seemed that I no longer had the opportunity to study overseas. However, I later found out that the SSC3 and Elective in Stage 4 of the course can be done in UK.

I didn't let my family know about that, but soon enough, they came across a NUMed advertisement which stated that there is "opportunity for periods of study in UK". Somehow, my family interpreted that as "It is compulsory to go to UK".

My family was very happy that I could still study overseas. Since then, they kept talking about that, as if the entire MBBS course is just about the SSC3 and Elective. That annoyed me, as I felt that there were other more important things to talk about.

I later explained to my family that it is actually not compulsory to do the SSC3 and Elective in UK. However, they still kept saying that I "should go to UK", without giving any good reason. I have always wanted to have the autonomy to decide for myself.

Due to reverse psychology, I became unwilling to do the SSC3 and Elective in UK. Over the years from Stage 1 to Stage 3, I had no plans to go to UK for the Stage 4 SSC3 and Elective, although I didn't rule out that possibility entirely.

Then it happened. On the supposedly first day of Stage 4, NUMed unexpectedly declared the results of the Stage 3 exam invalid due to a "security breach" and required every student in my batch to resit the exam. Worse still, we were given only 10 days to revise for the exam.

This incident had a "butterfly effect" on me. In the incident, I nearly lost my opportunity to be in Stage 4 of MBBS, as it was seemingly impossible to finish the revision in such a short time and anyone who failed the resit exam had to repeat the entire Stage 3.

That made me value Stage 4 a lot after I passed the exam and got into Stage 4. As a result, I wanted to make the most out of the opportunities I had in Stage 4, one of them being the opportunity to study in UK. Therefore, I made the decision to do the SSC3 in UK.

(However, I chose not to do the Elective in UK, due to reasons which I explained in this post: )

There was definitely a lot of preparation that I had to do before traveling to UK for the SSC3, especially that I had never studied overseas before. They were quite a hassle and the guidance provided by NUMed was limited, which made me feel stressed at times.

I would also have to face the challenges of adapting to the life in UK. Despite all these, I was confident that I made the right decision to go to UK for SSC3, as I knew that the SSC3 in UK would offer a unique experience that I wouldn't get if I were to do the SSC3 in Malaysia.

To read about my experience while doing the SSC3 in UK, go to this post: