The 2nd semester of Stage 4 of my MBBS course at NUMed consists of three Student Selected Components (SSC) and two Electives. The SSC 1 and SSC 2 can be done anywhere in Malaysia, while the SSC 3, Elective 1 and Elective 2 can be done either in UK or in Malaysia.
Doing the Elective 2 in UK has always been an absolute no-no for me, and my position on that remains the same now. The reason is that after Elective 2, there is just 3 weeks of break which is way too short. I want to have more time at home.
To overcome the problem of the short break, some of my friends chose to do SSC 1 and SSC 2 in their hometown instead of Johor, before going to UK for the SSC 3 and Electives. However, I didn't want to do the same, due to various reasons as I had explained in this post:
On the other hand, doing SSC 3 and Elective 1 in UK followed by Elective 2 in my hometown would have been a good plan for me, as I could be at home for 7 weeks which is reasonably long. However, I eventually decided to go to UK for just the SSC 3 but not Elective 1. Why was that the case?
Before entering Stage 4 of MBBS, I had always thought that there is just a single Elective which lasts for 8 weeks. As such, the thought of doing Elective 1 in UK and Elective 2 in Malaysia never came to my mind.
It was only in October 2017 that I found out there are actually two Electives, each lasting for 4 weeks. At that time, I had already made plans to do 8 weeks of Elective in my hometown, and I didn't see a great need to change that.
Between October 2017 and April 2018, there were several occasions where I seriously considered doing the Elective 1 in UK, but in the end I didn't go ahead with it. There were several reasons for that:
- First, for most Electives in UK, students are required to write and submit a curriculum vitae (CV) to the Elective supervisor. This was a task that I found quite challenging.
- It was quite possible that I wouldn't be offered an Elective at James Cook University Hospital. In that case, university managed accommodation isn't available and I would have to arrange private accommodation, which was something daunting for me.
- Even if I got to do an Elective at James Cook University Hospital, most of my friends probably wouldn't be doing their Elective there. Without friends, the Elective wouldn't be enjoyable.
- I was also quite worried that I would have difficulties adapting to the life in UK, considering the fact that I had never studied overseas before. Therefore, I didn't want to be in UK for too long.
- Doing Elective 1 in UK and Elective 2 in Malaysia would also mean that immediately after Elective 1 ends, I had to fly back to Malaysia and start Elective 2. I found this too rushed.
I travelled to UK on 13 April 2018 and did my SSC 3 at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough from 16 April 2018 until 25 May 2018. On 2 June 2018, I flew back to Malaysia. At that time, I was feeling quite sad about having to leave UK.
Many of my friends didn't leave UK when I left, because unlike me, they would be doing their Electives in UK. In fact, the number of students doing the Electives in UK exceeded those doing SSC 3 in UK.
I was having a lot of fun with my friends in UK throughout SSC 3. This had to come to an end, with me returning to Malaysia while my friends were still in UK, all because of the poor decision I made. If only I had chosen to do the Elective 1 in UK, I could have continued the fun for 1 more month.
Now, I am feeling quite regret for not doing my Elective 1 in UK. Looking back at the reasons above, I feel that none of them are really strong reasons, and the benefits of doing Elective 1 in UK definitely outweigh that.