Follow the experiences of our recent graduate! (Click here)
Hello! I am Wen Yan and I have recently graduated from UCC. Let me show you around and share my experiences studying in UCC. The school of medicine of University College Cork has a supportive learning environment which has helped me grow into a holistic medical graduate who is ready to work as a doctor. This is my story throughout my five years in UCC.
Applying through IUMC was a breeze. I handled the application process and sorted the accommodations and registration all by myself.
Year 1 – 2
Settling into Ireland was no hassle at all. My transition into university life was as smooth as it can be with IUMC helping me book my first-year accommodations months before arriving in Cork. I was living in Castlewhite apartments, and that put me 5 minutes away from Western Gateway Building and 10 minutes away from Brookfield Health Science Complex which was where we had all our classes. The Mardyke Sports Arena is also 5 minutes away (we students get free membership to access all their facilities including the gym, swimming pool, climbing wall, and many fitness classes.
Fun fact: The skull and crossbones is the official sporting logo for all UCC Clubs. I have always found it cool that my colleagues compete with the logo. UCC Radiology uses the same logo fittingly to reflect their profession!
The orientation was a well-planned process with many activities prepared to make us feel welcomed. The first week of classes gave us all the information we need to start our journey into medicine, introducing us to the concept and guiding us through the integrated systems-based curriculum in UCC.
Medicine is a subject that covers many disciplines and fields. The integrated curriculum aims to make it easier for us students to grasp the many complicated processes. With each system, we learn the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry, which we will then associate with the diseases that we would encounter later in our careers. I found this to be an easier process than to study each subject individually. It made it easier for me to connect the dots.
We have access to world-class facilities in UCC to help enhance our learning. The UCC Flame Laboratory, for example, is a state-of-the-art anatomy laboratory which I have had classes in for twice a week, every week for most of my pre-clinical education. We are taught with experienced instructors teaching with prosections (specially designed and dissected cadavers for the teaching of anatomy). The cadavers were my first patients which I had the privilege to learn from.
UCC offers a list of special studies modules during year 1 – 3 to give us an option to explore something else that is not part of the main curriculum. I designed and created a prosection under the guidance of UCC Flame Laboratory when I was in third year. You might see it in your first-year teachings if you are here!
Mixed in between the medical sciences, we receive some clinical teaching early in our education. That means we learn how to interact with patients and perform our duties as a clinician. In year 1, we learnt from experienced volunteers who act as fantastic, simulated patients. This early patient contact, albeit simulated, helped me step out of my comfort zone in a safe environment and build confidence.
In year 2, I was assigned to a monthly visit to a general practice to learn from patients. On the other hand, we were given the privilege to visit patients living with chronic diseases at their home to interview them. As an international student, these early experiences helped me prepare for my transition into clinical learning, especially in terms of communication skills with doctors and patients.
Year 3 – 5
The first leap in medical school is the start when we are confronted with the wealth of knowledge that we must learn. The second leap is in year 3 when we have to put the knowledge into practice. Learning moves from lecture halls to hospitals and clinics. It was a turbulent and chaotic for medical students everywhere, but I felt it was less so for me. It was demanding at first, but UCC does a good job of slowly introducing clinical learning to us. Learning objectives are always clear, and the expectations for me as a student was always fair.
UCC is the institution covering the south-southwest hospital group. This means that students have the opportunity to learn in 10 hospitals in the south of Ireland. There are also many general practice clinics that are affiliated with UCC for us to do our attachments in. UCC does best in making our education a smooth experience by making learning in different hospitals and clinics easy, providing us with temporary accommodations when placed outside of Cork and organizing orientations to get us settled into each placement.
Research is also a big part of medicine in UCC. We are all expected to complete a research project from year 3 – 5 as part of our education. There is no shortage of amazing researchers amongst the clinicians in the hospitals. We receive plenty of guidance from the school of medicine and our supervisors throughout, so it was a fair challenge to get us familiar with the basics. Even as I struggled, I appreciate the fact that I will be prepared to participate in projects later on in my career to improve patient care.
Throughout my clinical years, I have rotated through 6 hospitals and 4 general practices. I was extremely fortunate to have met many amazing doctors working in the south and learning from a variety of mentors helped me consolidate my knowledge to allow me to perform well. As I graduate, I feel confident that with the education I have received in UCC, I will be a competent doctor who will be able to serve patients proudly.
Integrate UCC marketing into IUMC’s website.
UCC Medicine Introduction video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-whMq04x0K0
UCC International Medicine Brochure – https://www.ucc.ie/en/media/academic/schoolofmedicine/docs/internationalbrochures/UCCSchoolofMedicinebrochure2019.pdf