Placements and Hospitals
In TCD, we have three years of clinical experience which is more than some other universities in Ireland. This allows us to have more time to hone our clinical skills.
In Year 3 and Year 5, we are assigned to medical or surgical rotations. This is mostly done in St James’ Hospital (SJH) or Tallaght University Hospital (TUH). Other sites include Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital (RVEEH), Naas General Hospital, Blackrock Hospital, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Hermitage Medical Clinic.
In Year 3:
Each rotation was usually either 2 weeks or 4 weeks long during Covid.
- One medical and one surgical rotation in SJH
- One medical and one surgical rotation in TUH
- 2 weeks of Ophthalmology in RVEEH
- 2 weeks of ENT in RVEEH
There is also an option to swap one of your rotations in the early parts of the second semester to do a rotation in the Isle of Man. This is highly recommended as you are able to experience a different healthcare system, the NHS. Also, personally, I had a lot of opportunities for hands on experience.
In Year 5:
You choose to start at either TUH or SJH and then swap over in the second half of the year
In Year 4, we focus solely on Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychiatry and General Practice with about 7 to 8 weeks of each and an examination at the end of the 8 weeks as well as a final exam in each subject at the end of the academic year.
Rotates between three hospitals – Temple Street Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin, National Children’s Hospital at TUH
Rotate between Coombe Women’s Hospital, Gynaecology department in SJH and Gynaecology department in TUH
6 weeks of general psychiatry either in St Patrick’s University Hospital, TUH or SJH
2 weeks of specialty psychiatry either in adolescent mental health, elderly mental health
2 weeks of inner GP (in Dublin)
2 weeks of outer GP (at rural areas)
Random allocation, can swap
- Student selected research project, lots to choose from and varies from laboratory research to article review
- Take your time to check them out and shortlist them
- Process to select project is very competitive, essentially fastest fingers first
- Make sure to go to a place with good Wi-Fi
- Think about whether you work well in groups or prefer to do projects individually as there are certain projects for one person, two people and up to five people.
Evidence based medicine
- Student selected research project
- Done in larger groups of about 10
- Will be assigned a random project during your 8 weeks rotation to be done with your group mates of about 8 students.
- Will not contribute to any marks for your paediatrics module but it is a chance to present your research and try to publish it as the lecturers are very encouraging and helpful.
These are the research projects that is part of the curriculum but you can always engage in other research projects.
Electives are the time in medical school to explore specialties that you have an interest in but were not exposed to during clinical rotations. You can also use this as an opportunity to explore a whole new healthcare system as you can apply to do electives anywhere in the world that accepts students, with the added bonus of being able to travel and explore a new country during your free time!
Most medical schools require a certain amount of weeks of electives to be done during your summer holidays as a clinical student. For example, in TCD, it is required that you complete 8 weeks of elective over the span of 2 years (third and fourth year), a tip would be do split it evenly or do more in third year as you’d have a longer summer holiday then compared to fourth year.
Things to take note of
- Many schools offer subsidies and grants for electives in partner universities, so do check out what your school has to offer
- Different countries/hospitals have different deadlines for applications, so keep yourself up to date with the various deadlines, do your research early depending on your area/country of interest.
- Certain hospitals/departments have specific requirements e.g. fourth year students and above or final year students, but fret not, just apply when you meet the criteria.
- Most hospitals will require payment and administrative fee, so be sure to work out a budget prior to applying.
Clubs and Societies
In every Irish university, there are more than 100 societies ranging from arts, culture, politics and debating to gaming, advocacy and music and 50 sports clubs in a range of disciplines, you’re sure to find something that interests you. You could always try a new sports, start a new hobby!
For a medical student, the must join club would be the BioSoc society in TCD. It is one of the largest and oldest in Ireland, having been established in 1874. Head on over to https://tcdbiosoc.com/ to find out more and make sure to check out their year guides for some useful tips on how to tackle each year of medical school. They also hold a yearly book sale where you can get your textbooks for dirt cheap prices, so watch out for that especially if you are a new incoming student.
If you are from south east asia (or even if you are not), another must join is the Dublin University South East Asian Society (DUSEAS) in TCD, the Malaysian Society (MSoc) in UCD, and the South East Asian Society (SEASoc) in UCC. They organise loads of events to commemorate important events for SEAs, you’re guaranteed to be reminded of home.
To join these clubs, look out for Freshers’ Week, which is when tents and booths will be set
up in every main campus in the first few weeks of each semester.
Life In Ireland
Useful apps to download:
- Bank apps: AIB/BOI/Revolut
- School related apps:
- Trinity Live
- Google Maps
- LUAS and Dublin Bus app – for real time information of transport
- Leap top up: newly available on apple phones, so convenient to check the balance and top up leap card (you guys are so lucky!)
- Taxi APP: FreeNow
- Bike rental: Bleeper
- Food delivery apps: Just Eat, Deliveroo, UberEats
- You can use my referral link (wink)
- Deliveroo: https://deliveroo.ie/invite?rooit=yunh-s8jm
- UberEats: Use my code at checkout: eats-nw6n4pyrue
- Deliveroo – delivers from ALDI
- Tesco online
Most networks offer unlimited internet with affordable prices. Here is a table of comparison of the more well-established networks (Three, Vodafone, Eir) and the newer networks that started in the past two years (GOMO and 48).
Note: This may have changed when you are in Ireland
|Calls||Unlimited Three to Three 60 minutes to other networks||100 any network minutes & unlimited minutes from 3pm on Fridays until 11.59pm on Sundays||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Extras||11GB EU roaming||Full allowance roaming in Europe||10.9GB EU roaming||EU Roaming, Calls, Texts & 10GB Data||10GB EU/UK roaming|
With unlimited data and google maps in hand, you will never get lost! It is extremely easy to get around with public transport and you can walk or cycle as well! In Dublin you have the options of the Luas, an above ground tram, the bus and the train. As well as taxis. You can also opt to cycle or walk. With cycling you can get your own bike or there are many bike renting services available e.g. Dublin bikes, Bleeper etc
In Dublin there is a plethora of choices from Asian (Malaysian, Korean, Japanese etc) to Mexican and Mediterranean.
My favourite restaurants are:
- Musashi – Japanese
- Kopitiam – Malaysian
- Jin Restaurant – Chinese
Grocery shopping – many choices of grocery shop, can choose depending on which is near, budget and brand choices
- Lidl – less well-known brand, cheaper, and more plastic free options for fruits and vegetables
- Tesco – more well-known brands
- Dunnes – some good discounts available for regular customers
- M&S – generally more expensive and more plastic, but they do great discount for things that are expiring the next day. Their ready-made meals are amazing and taste great. Their meals for 2 comes with an appetizer, main course, dessert and drinks definitely a bang for your buck
Preparing for Departure
I remember accepting my offer and the excitement and nervousness that descended upon me. What have I gotten into? Moving halfway across the world to study full time? How do I pack my life into two suitcases?
#1: The weather in Ireland is very unpredictable, one minute the sun is shining and the next it might drizzle.
To help you stay warm throughout your academic year, we advise you to wear around 2-3 layers of clothing when you are outdoors.
Tip: there is no need to bring too much clothes as Ireland is a great place to shop and online shopping is so easy with free delivery and returns available in many stores.
- Inner wear – heat-tech or long-john
- Put them on whenever you feel that the weather is too cold for you. Everyone has different cold tolerance, so you might want to check the weather forecast before deciding if you will need them for the day.
- You could get them from Malaysia at stores like UNIQLO, WinterTime and NorthFace.
- Tip 1: If you’re using Apple Weather App, always scroll all the way down to what the temperature feels like – it is a more accurate depiction of the temperature outside as it gets so windy in Ireland.
- Tip 2: In my first year, I made the mistake of wearing an extra layer every time I feel a little bit cold. And by December, I’m wearing almost four layers of clothing. HAHA and it is actually only the coldest in January and February. So, I would recommend trying to acclimatise before layering up!
- Tip 3: On layering:
- Start off with checking the weather app, is it cold for you? If yes, you can always put on thermals as your first layer, or else, a long sleeve shirt or a t-shirt will do as well and you can layer these on top of your thermals
- Next you can put on a thinner jacket/hoodie – something easy to remove so you can take them off when you get into heated buildings
- Lastly, the outer layer, you should ideally put on a water-resistant layer and depending on the temperature, I personally rotate between a windbreaker and a fur lined jacket and a down jacket.
- Middle wear
- Any clothes you are currently wearing in Malaysia are all considered “middle wear”.
- We also consider Jackets, hoodie and sweater as “middle wear”. If the
- weather is still unbearably cold. You can put on a jacket or sweater over your t-shirt.
- Outer wear
- Get a good water resistant jacket, you can bring one from Malaysia if you already have one but if not, you can always get them in Ireland, they have so many designs and are very reasonably priced and often go on sale
- You can get them in various thickness for the various temperatures e.g. a windbreaker for windier days and for hiking, one with fur lining for the colder days, one with down lining for the really cold days.
- Some stores you can check out for winter coats include Zara, H&M, Hollister, Penneys etc.
- Tip: get ones that allows you to use your phone with
- Can always get in Ireland if lack of space. Really cheap in Penneys.
- Sneakers / casual walking shoes – even better if they are waterproof/water resistant
- I still remember walking to classes in a pair of sneakers and getting caught in the rain. Attending lecture with wet socks is not fun. HAHA.
- Personally, I love Adidas Superstars and Stan Smiths, they always keep my feet dry and has never failed me. And they often go on sale in Ireland so you could always get them here.
- To wear indoors
- You can bring several pairs especially if you are staying in halls: one for the bedroom and one for the shared kitchen outside
- Formal shoes (for clinicals and OSCE exams)
- These are your typical office shoes
- Due to Covid, most schools are getting their clinical students to wear scrubs with sneakers now so this might not apply anymore
- In TCD we did our final year clinical exam in scrubs and sneakers!
- Basic necessities
- Contact lens and contact lens solution
- Difficult to avail of contact lens as you will need to go to the optician for an eye check-up and a prescription (need to pay) prior to purchasing contact lenses every single time you want to purchase them
- Solution is expensive
- Spare spectacles
- Other things you can bring if there is still space:
- Toothpaste & Toothbrush
- Dental floss
- Contact lens and contact lens solution
- Skincare/makeup products
- Due to the climate here in Ireland and the indoor heating, we are prone to dry skin and chapped lips.
- Bring your favourite skincare/makeup products with you, some Asian brands are difficult to purchase in Ireland but Western brands are widely available and easy to purchase online.
- Limited choices in Ireland so bring your favourites
- Tip: learn to cook your favourite homemade meals/Malaysian meals prior to leaving
- Things to bring especially if you like these as it is expensive/not available to purchase in Ireland:
- Food paste e.g. curry paste, chicken rice paste, bak kut teh etc
- Rice cooker
- No matter how little luggage space you are given by your airline, please do not leave out a rice cooker. We recommend you to get a multi-functional one like the ones from ELBA or TEFAL. From our own experience, multi-functional rice cookers are more versatile and may come in handy during exams.
- Tip: Having a good rice cooker is imperative. It is best that you get from trusted brands in Malaysia. You could also get them in Ireland, but they are more expensive and have less design variety.
- If you have extra luggage space, you can purchase textbooks from Kamal bookstores as it is cheaper. However, you can always buy books off seniors or borrow it from the library.
- Tip: Ask your seniors which textbooks are most useful
- In TCD, you can keep renewing your library book loan.
- I would recommend getting a student ticket from the travel agent as you get extra baggage (40kg) and a flexible ticket