21 Sep 2020 An IMU Alumna’s Journey Studying a Master’s Degree in Taiwan
I graduated with biomedical science degree from International Medical University (IMU) in 2017.and my journey in Taiwan began in 2018. In the blink of an eye, I have now completed the 2-year Master’s degree programme at National Yang-Ming University (NYMU). More precisely, my entire research was carried out in the research department of Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH). Throughout those 2 years, I was offered two scholarships: one from the University, and another from the School of Medicine as an award for being an outstanding student. On my year of graduation, I have also been elected as the valedictorian, representing the international students as well as the School of Medicine, to deliver the graduation speeches.
Why did I pursue my higher education in Taiwan? I have always been adventurous, and I am also an inquisitive person especially on things that are edgy. So, that basically played a big part on why I seized the window of opportunity to go abroad and out of my comfort zone. Moreover, NYMU has been ranked as one of the top universities in Taiwan, a university specialising in the medical field, equipped with a wide range of facilities and knowledgeable educators. Apart from that, I have to say that the university undeniably offered generous scholarships that was sufficient to cover my tuition fees and living costs. So, given what seems to be right up my alley, it did not take me long to accept the offer.
As I began my postgraduate life (innocently), I thought it will be more or less similar to my final year project (FYP) in my undergraduate studies but it turned out to be unexpectedly intense. Most of the time, I felt like I was working instead of studying. The research laboratory that I was involved in was a huge and well-established research body, especially known for stem cells differentiation and application, next generation sequencing (NGS), bioinformatics and cancer research. Progress meetings were held over the weekdays, weekends and holidays. It was never easy, but I always remind myself that “oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” (Peter Marshall), and it kept me motivated.
Furthermore, having classes in Taiwan was not so much of a problem for me because (proudly speaking) Malaysians generally master multiple languages. However, even though the lecture slides were prepared in English, most of the time, classes were conducted in Mandarin since that is the mother tongue of the majority of the students. Fret not, if that bothers you, you can always schedule an appointment with the professors. I am sure that professors in NYMU are generally bright and helpful, and they will be more than happy to guide you through.
|Pros and cons of studying abroad?|
|Pros is that when you get to live alone, that is when you finally become independent, which I truly see it as an essential element in life especially when you are at the cusp of adulthood. Also, much to my surprise, I met a lot of friends and countrymates when I was in Taiwan, which I believe, these friendships would last a lifetime. Not forgetting the most important part of this which is travelling. Studying abroad has allowed me to explore incredible terrains and landmarks of that beautiful country whilst experiencing distinct cultural perspectives of the nation.|
|Cons is that staying away from home seems like a dream come true, but it is when you are facing hurdles, or one of those nights when you are walking down the street alone, homesickness kicks in more than ever. To top it off, maintaining an ideal work-life balance was always easier said than done. It was definitely challenging to weave study, research experiments, friends, family and partner all into my daily activities. Nonetheless, the pros out weighted the cons and I never regret my choices and decisions.|
Yeah, you did not get me wrong, meanwhile I have also graduated from the academy of long-distance relationship (LDR). I can attest that LDR was absolutely tough, but looking back at it, my partner and I very much agree that this priceless experience is the cornerstone of our stronger than ever relationship. Now that I am finally back for good, marriage is the next phase that is waiting ahead.
Time to put my two cents in. While striving hard to achieve your goals, do not forget to work on interpersonal skills, too. In the end of the day, it is your attitudes and behaviors that pave the way to a trustful, healthy and respectful relationship between one and another, but never the title, position nor wealth. In addition, I believe it is worth the time to figure out what is your expectation for yourself. If you do not expect growth, then do not be disappointed with stagnation. On the other hand, if you aim to strive for better, you will be positive and faithful regardless of what cynics and doubters say.
|So, what is next?|
|I cannot wait to flip to the next chapter of life to see what God has planned for me. For whoever reading this, I hope our paths will cross in the future, and all the very best to you. I am extremely proud to be an alumna of IMU!|
Written by Lim Xue Zhen (Susan)