March 21, 2016, by Jonathan Teoh
Life as a BMS Exchange Student in the UK
My name is Jonathan Chooi and I am a final year Biomedical Sciences student from UNMC. Last semester, I decided to come on an exchange to the university’s main campus in Nottingham, United Kingdom. My initial experience when I landed in the UK was: “Wow, this place is cold!” It was a shock as I walked out of the plane into immigration and off to Gatwick airport railway station, the cold hit me hard. Despite being properly dressed, I had to resort to some form of ‘jogging setempat’. Now after 8 weeks here, I’ve became much better in coping with the cold. Coming out of the shower however still gives me the shivers once a while.
The campus is beautiful
The UK campus can be rightly described as big and beautiful. University Park which is one of three campuses here in Nottingham is where I am mostly based. The campus is a million metre square in size with a lake, which for comparison sake, it is five times the size of the one in UNMC! As of now, I have yet to explore the majority areas of University Park.
The academic part of Exchange
As a Biomedical Sciences student, lecture/practicals/and anything academic are situated in the Medical School which is in a hospital called Queens Medical Centre, or QMC in short. University Park and QMC are connected by an overhead bridge across the road. Here, I share classes with Biochemistry students. “Molecular Microbiology and Infection” turns out to be my favourite module, out of the two which I am enrolled in. Lectures here are amazing—and I mean it. The lectures are well-informed with recent publications in their respective fields so that means we learn updated scientific information.
In addition, my final year project had me attending the laboratory 4 days a week, for 6 weeks in total. However, I am thankful for the support and friendship of various people that made the project exciting. And definitely not forgetting Dr Yvonne Mbaki, my supervisor. If there is one thing she cannot be, is that she cannot be any more helpful. They were patient, kind and supportive.
Enough about studying, what about living here?
Well, living here means being more independent for me personally. Dining out here is expensive for an international student. So the natural and almost instinctive thing to do is cook. I have cooked more in these 7 weeks compared to my entire life added together.
I also had the opportunities to mix and mingle with various people—both local and international through church activities during the weekend, and also on campus activities during weeknights. Being exposed to people who come from different backgrounds, who practice different cultures and speak in their own accents is definitely a pleasant thing. It is no doubt the UK is a very multicultural country.
Yes, one of the factored reasons to why one would come for an exchange. I love to travel. Thus far, I have been to several places. The sight of Oxford, Liverpool and Leeds have nestled snugly into parts of my memories. This Easter break, I also plan to sneak in a travel or two— possibly to Ireland and London despite the dissertation deadline looming!
Now if there is a take-away message that I can leave you, especially to those who are deciding to either come for BMS Exchange or Transfer, is to go for it. I do not regret coming here to UNUK for my final semester. But of course, wherever you end up going, it is what you make of it that counts!
Jonathan Chooi (3rd Year BMS student)