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WHEN third- year med­i­cal stu­dent John Poon went to the United King­dom, he im­me­di­ately felt at home.

Poon had been se­lected from a num­ber of stu­dents at New­cas­tle Univer­sity Medicine Malaysia ( NUMed) to spend the sum­mer at New­cas­tle Univer­sity, the par­ent univer­sity in the United King­dom.

Ever since the Bri­tish univer­sity opened a branch cam­pus for medicine and bio­med­i­cal science in Jo­hor in 2009, NUMed stu­dents have been of­fered the op­por­tu­nity to study for short pe­ri­ods in the UK.

The main pur­pose of Poon’s 10- week trip was to carry out a spe­cial re­search project on the re­gen­er­a­tion of mam­mals’ spinal cords.

The project re­quired him to col­lab­o­rate with a di­verse range of stu­dents and fac­ulty. Led by an English tu­tor, his team com­prised fel­low re­searchers from Ger­many, the Nether­lands and Saudi Ara­bia.

Re­flect­ing on his trip, Poon says, “I re­ally en­joyed my ex­pe­ri­ence. I al­ways knew we shared the same syl­labus and learn­ing re­sources. Some­times, we even share the same lec­tur­ers who travel to de­liver parts of the course.

“But now I have seen with my own eyes and un­der­stood from my ex­pe­ri­ence just how sim­i­lar NUMed is to New­cas­tle UK.”

He says, “The time I spent work­ing with my coun­ter­parts in the UK made me re­alise the out­come of study­ing at New­cas­tle Univer­sity is the same in Malaysia as it is in the UK.”

The sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the UK and Malaysia cam­puses are use­ful for the stu­dents as NUMed re­cently be­came the first univer­sity out­side of the UK to re­ceive recog­ni­tion by the General Med­i­cal Coun­cil ( GMC) – the statu­tory body that reg­is­ters and reg­u­lates doc­tors in the UK.

This was an im­por­tant mile­stone for NUMed as it means Malaysians who study medicine at NUMed and carry out their post­grad­u­ate clin­i­cal train­ing pro­gramme in se­lected Malaysian hos­pi­tals can now ap­ply for full reg­is­tra­tion as doc­tors with the GMC as well as the Malaysian Med­i­cal Coun­cil ( MMC).

While Poon spent much of his time ex­plor­ing the re­gen­er­a­tion of mam­mals’ spinal cords, he was also able to dis­cover the de­lights of the Bri­tish coun­try­side.

In his spare time and dur­ing week­ends he trav­elled from Ed­in­burgh to Es­sex, and re­alised that life and scenery in the UK and Malaysia were vastly dif­fer­ent.

“I wanted to make the most of my trip and I think I man­aged to. I met many peo­ple and ex­plored dif­fer­ent places, in­clud­ing the many cas­tles and cathe­drals of UK cities. It was all part of my learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. At NUMed, we are al­ways re­minded that you learn as much out­side the class­room as you do inside it,” he says.

New­cas­tle was the first UK Univer­sity to of­fer a UK Pri­mary Med­i­cal qual­i­fi­ca­tion out­side of the UK. Both un­der­grad­u­ate de­grees of­fered by NUMed in Medicine ( MBBS) and Bio­med­i­cal Sciences ( BSc) are con­ferred by New­cas­tle Univer­sity UK.

New­cas­tle Univer­sity UK es­tab­lished an in­ter­na­tional branch cam­pus in Jo­hor, Malaysia, to pro­vide its un­der­grad­u­ate de­grees in Bach­e­lor of Medicine/ Bach­e­lor of Surgery ( MBBS) and BSc in Bio­med­i­cal Sciences, as well as op­por­tu­ni­ties for post­grad­u­ate study.

The pro­grammes of study are equiv­a­lent to those of New­cas­tle’s UK- based pro­vi­sion, and lead to the award of the same de­grees.

By choos­ing to study at NUMed Malaysia, stu­dents will ob­tain a rep­utable UK qual­i­fi­ca­tion from an in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised univer­sity at a cost sig­nif­i­cantly less than that of study­ing in the UK.

The MBBS was launched in 2009 and BSc in the Bio­med­i­cal Sciences was launched in 2013. Both pro­grammes of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties for pe­ri­ods of study in the UK.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. ncl. ac. uk/ numed.

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