I have to say that the NUMed MBBS 2016-2021 batch of students are really unfortunate and I feel sad for them. Many of them are supposed to be doing their SSC3 and Electives in UK now. However in March 2020, Newcastle University had to put a stop to all SSC and Elective placements in UK, due to the Covid-19 situation. Consequently, they could no longer go to UK.
Perhaps, we may think that the most important thing is for them to stay safe and that there will be no delays to their graduation next year. However, what's most important is rather subjective. We have to remember that it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do the SSC3 and Electives in UK. What makes it so unique is the experience of doing Medicine in a different country together with many of our university friends. This is something that can never be matched by any ordinary holiday trip to UK or anywhere else.
I know this all too well from my own experience. I did my SSC3 in UK during the 4th year, and that's definitely one of the most memorable time in my entire MBBS course. However, I chose not to do my Elective 1 in UK, despite my family and friends advising me otherwise. I would later regret that decision, but it was already too late by then. I can still remember how sad I was when I had to return to Malaysia myself after the SSC3 ended. As sad as I was, I had no one but myself to blame, and at least I could be in UK for 7 weeks.
But how about the students in the 2016-2021 batch? They surely didn't make any wrong decisions. By March 2020, they must have already booked their flight tickets and made great travel plans, eagerly looking forward to a whole new experience ahead. Then suddenly, everything got taken away from them, all because of a merciless virus. In the end, they don't even get to be in UK for a single day, much less 7 weeks. Their situation is certainly much sadder than my situation back then.
I personally know very few of the students in the 2016-2021 batch. Despite that, I still feel sad for them. I hope that Newcastle University can come up with a plan to let them have a replacement SSC or Elective in UK when the Covid-19 pandemic ends.