Dr. Wen Yan Low

Dr. Wen Yan Low from Malaysia (UCC Medical School Graduate now working as a doctor in a hospital in Dublin, Ireland)

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.

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.

Jeremy Kay Hock Lee

UCC is located in the pleasant, safe and welcoming city of Cork, which is home to some of the friendliest people I have ever met. The community is very helpful to international students whenever we require assistance or information. I was immediately attracted to the charming and peaceful environment the moment I arrived, and the tightly knit community makes Cork feel very much like home. The campus accommodations are also situated conveniently near the campus for international students.

UCC itself has a well developed infrastructure and world class modern teaching facilities which provide for a very conducive learning environment. The UCC Medicine curriculum is a professional, complete and rigorous programme. The teaching staff are very caring, dedicated and passionate in their fields of work. They develop and deliver an outstanding teaching programme for medical students. UCC is very supportive of societies, e.g., South East Asia Society (SEASoc), and their activities, and is truly a university that is culturally diverse, active and vibrant, and with a broad global outlook. UCC Medicine is without doubt the best choice for me, and I am thoroughly enjoying each and every moment here.

Kei Yen Chan

My time in UCC has been enriching. The medical programme is well structured, with early patient interactions during pre-clinical years. This allows for a smooth transition into clinical placements starting in Year 3. There is an incredibly supportive network, with the medical staff always striving to improve student experience, and our mental health is a priority. Our tutors are very encouraging and passionate about teaching. There is also an emphasis on research skills, thus helping us to develop as well rounded medical students. It is definitely a learning environment I’m proud to be part of. UCC is also a central based campus, with the city being within walking distance. Cork city is vibrant with a diverse coffee scene, infused with warmth and friendliness. One most certainly feels very welcomed and a sense of belonging! 

Shivika Marwaha

Studying in a country far from home, I’ve come to realise it’s not just about where you’re studying. It’s about the people, the sceneries, the walks among other things that make it worth the experience and Ireland offers all of that. Not only does it comprise of some of the World’s leading institutions but also people who are extremely friendly and warm who will wave to you and have a short conversation on your walk to campus. It offers some beautiful sights and hikes which make the university experience so much more worthwhile. 

Choosing to study in Ireland is without a doubt one of the best choices I’ve made because it introduced me to great research opportunities, professors and of course, friends from all over the world. Unlike many other medical schools, Irish medical schools award students with an additional degree, a Bachelor in Obstetrics, in addition to a Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery which is extremely beneficial in the long run. It also strongly emphasises on the practical application of theoretical knowledge which greatly contributes to the learning process and equips students to work in a clinical setting. 

The IUMC/Study Ireland Office was extremely helpful as it guided me through the tedious medical school application as an international student. They were helpful when it came to putting me in touch with the right people when I had queries and were extremely organised and prompt with all the help they provided. Seamus was especially helpful during this period and still continues to check in on me while I’m at university! I would highly recommend students to strongly consider Ireland as a study destination as it offers everything to make your further education worth the experience!

Marissa Thuraiya Mat Salim

Coming to study Medicine here in University College Cork, a beautiful as well as culturally and socially stimulating environment, was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I find the people to be truly amazing! The quality of the medical programme is excellent, and the academic staff are willing to go the extra mile to assist students. This is a great place to study and to live and one with plenty of opportunity for new life experiences.

Karanvir Dhatt

I chose UCC because it is a very good integrated course where you get clinical experience at a very early stage. The consultant teaching is excellent, as is the early clinical skills teaching.

Cork city is a vibrant city with a nice homely feel. The good thing about UCC is that everything is nearby – most hospitals are within walking distance. Another key feature is that all students have to do a research project. My project was based at the World Health Organization in Geneva and I have already published one paper on my work. Having good research skills and publications and presentations already on track is a great start to a medical career.

It was very easy to settle in when I came to Cork as there was already a community of Malaysian and other non-EU students waiting to help me to settle in. There is an excellent mentoring system in UCC and the mentors have your best interests at heart.

Julianna Jee

I feel that UCC has always believed in my full potential. I was taught not to only enrich my medical knowledge, but to also strive to contribute to the development of Medicine through involvement in cutting-edge research projects. Being part of a multi-disciplinary team is a joy and a blessing and has allowed me to gain first-hand experience in managing medical cases. UCC has always been a huge advocate of cultural diversity. 

As an International student, UCC is my second home. The existing Malaysian community here have played a huge role in helping me to adapt to a new environment. The warmth and kindness of the Irish community has given me a sense of belonging.

Thitta Harnamornset

Coming to UCC has been an eye-opening experience for me. What really attracted me to the medical programme in UCC is the great emphasis on clinical research as is illustrated by many well known published studies. This has given me the opportunity to participate in my areas of interest. UCC provides excellent teaching and advanced facilities such as the Anatomy Flame Laboratory and Stimulation Laboratory for clinical practice. I find early clinical attachments such as GP visits and heath care tutorials the most striking and enjoyable part of the course. Not only does this familiarise us to clinical settings and practice, there is also a strong emphasis on the holistic aspects of Medicine and patient centered based care. Cork is a lovely, vibrant city that really welcomes you. I love how everything is within walking distance whether it be the campus, accommodation or the city centre itself. It has been really easy to settle in with so much support available. I strongly believe that UCC will shape me into a competent and understanding doctor which will allow me to excel in this field.

Ming Tow Chan

Studying in UCC has been life changing. The campus is a short distance to Cork city centre and student accommodation is within walking distance. The Irish are renowned for their friendliness and I have found them to be extremely warm and welcoming, making it very easy to settle in. The medical faculty (professors and lecturers) have been really impressive, and actively engage students and promote class participation. They are always willing to assist with any problems and this really improves the quality of learning and understanding. Being in UCC also gives you the opportunity to explore new places and is definitely a wonderful and life-changing experience.

Goh Shu Yi

When I first came to Cork I was quite nervous as I was not sure what to expect. Having lived here for five years, I can now say that it is an experience I would trade with no other! The support system here is really strong and my journey was eased with the help of my classmates and lecturers. However, despite the busy schedule, I still manage to squeeze in some weekend trips around Cork which is surrounded by gorgeous places for a big fan of nature like me.

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