Studying Medicine in Hubei, China
As is commonly known, the rapid economic growth and expansion in China have witnessed huge leaps in medical science. China has undoubtedly reached the international level in the field of minimally invasive procedures, and especially in such cancer surgeries as stomach, intestinal, lung, and pancreatic cancers. Success stories of combating against the SARS, H1N1, HIV and the like, plus Tu Youyou’s winning of Nobel Prize in Medicine have earned China a positive reputation in medical science.
The myth of “Going to Europe and the US to study medicine, and going to China just to study Chinese” has perished. More and more overseas students are now studying medicine in China. According to statistics from relevant departments, the number of overseas students studying medicine in Hubei has been increasing steadily from 2006 to 2017. Just in 2018, 20,000 overseas students studied in Hubei— among which, 5000 are studying medicine, second only to those studying Chinese. Tongji Medical College of the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the School of Medicine of Wuhan University, and the Hubei University of Chinese Medicine are the top choices for international students. As we know, Hubei is rich in medical education resources in China. Overseas students’ choice of studying medicine in Hubei could best reflect the overseas students’ enthusiasm for studying medicine in China.
On December 12, 2018, we conducted an interview with some overseas students studying at Wuhan Union Hospital affiliated with Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science
and Technology ( hereinafter referred to as “Wuhan Union Hospital”).
Practicing while Studying, Providing a Nice Curriculum Almost all the overseas students maintain that it is both affordable and worthwhile to study medicine in China.
Saving on tuition fees is just one piece of the whole picture. Most importantly, studying medicine in China benefits them by providing both knowledge and valuable experience. Several factors, such as patients number, case complexity, intern vacancies, and advanced equipment not only provide the best environment for the rapid boom of medical sciences in China, but also offer many opportunities for the medical students. Take Wuhan Union Hospital for example— it started enrolling overseas students in 2007 and has trained 315 overseas doctors since 2012.
Professor Chen Lili, who once studied stomatology at Harvard Medical School, is now a doctoral mentor in Wuhan Union Hospital. Chen says that the medical education is quite different in Western countries, as compared with that in China. In most European countries and in America, medical students do not have sufficient opportunities to practice their skills— for they divorce the research from the clinic in medical education. However, Chinese medical colleges emphasize the importance of a combination of both research and clinical experiences, and students are offered the chance to practice while also learning medical theories. Chen Lili believes that actual cases provide the best ground for teaching. There are about one- thousand beds in a large hospital in other countries, while Wuhan Union Hospital has over 5000 beds. This year, this hospital has treated 5.7 million people, accommodated 227,000 hospitalized patients, and conducted 121,000 surgical operations. The students have ample opportunities to engage in clinical practices, thus familiarizing themselves with
medical knowledge and skills.
Osamah Alwalid is a Ph. D. candidate from Yemen. He applied to five universities in the US, China, and Australia, and was finally admitted to Wuhan Union Hospital. He said, “I really cherish this hard-earned opportunity. My doctoral mentor, Professor Han Ping, is a knowledgeable expert in radiology and always encourages and supports me in my studies and research work.” Osamah has been working diligently by making full use of these favorable conditions and hopes to become a world- renowned expert in radiology and nuclear medicine one day.
Mohammad Ishraq Zafar, a Ph. D. candidate from India, has focused his research in the field of Endocrinology, primarily related to the diabetes and its associated complications. He has been awarded the title of Academic Excellence by Huazhong University of Science and Technology and the title
of Outstanding International Student by the China Scholarship Council ( CSC), Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, for his accomplishments in medical research. Zafar said that the students can learn so much at Wuhan Union Hospital, owed in large part to its favorable teaching environment, advanced medical equipment, and professional faculty. He said that he is fortunate to have a supervisor like Professor Chen Lulu, as she is the most knowledgeable person he has ever met, and she knows how to extract the best out of any student.
Devoting to Studying for their Motherland
Osamah has been devoted to both theoretical study and clinical practice as a Ph. D. candidate. His doctoral mentor, Professor Han Ping, commented that, “Osamah is intelligent and hardworking. With strong competence in both language and research, he can complete research project independently and has published several SCI papers.” Any practitioner knows that it’s no easy to publish an SCI paper without solid research and innovative practices. Osamah has a strong compassion for the lives lost in wars and accidents, and hopes to help people by healing their illnesses.
Zafar obtained his master’s degree at Wuhan Union Hospital and decided to continue his Ph. D. studies there. His mentor, Professor Chen Lulu, praised his passion for studying medicine. He has published several articles, including seven SCI papers as the first author and hopes to make more progress in the future. Zafar’s research emphasizes the comprehensive research and applications of related disciplines, and he prefers being a researcher and academician who can nurture professionals than being a clinical doctor.
Methavee Chulanuka from Thailand hopes to continue her master’s studies after finishing her undergraduate courses, and wants to contribute to the medical world in her motherland. She said it takes a long time for locals to see a good doctor in some parts of her country. She’s determined to be a good doctor and has received the title of Excellent International Student at Huazhong University of Science and Technology several times.
We’ve also met a beautiful Dominican girl named Dionne Telemacque during our interview. Dionne studied Chinese for one year at Shanghai Tongji University in 2011, and then studied clinical medicine in Nanchang University. She enrolled at Wuhan Union Hospital in 2017 and has continued her postgraduate education majoring in orthopedics. She is also a member of the spinal cord injury research team now.
Selasi Aku Daddy is an undergraduate student from Ghana and is pursuing both a Bachelor’s of Medicine and Bachelor’s of Science degree. She is now working on clinical science courses and will graduate in one year. She plans to work for her country for three years after
graduation and then continue her postgraduate and doctoral studies in other countries. She has a quick mind and passion for medical studies, and will surely become an excellent doctor in the future.
Medical experts from Hubei Province have been the core members of Chinese Medical Teams in Africa, and have been providing international medical aid since 1960, the year Hubei Province organized its first Chinese medical team to work in Algeria. Some doctors and their family members have been members of these aid programs for three generations and have helped hundreds of thousands of African families, contributing to the medical science development in these countries and regions. As an old Chinese saying goes, “It is better to teach one the skill of fishing than to offer him fish.” Hubei province has not only sent international medical teams, but also helped train medical research and technical staff in countries all over the world. The medical colleges in Hubei have trained thousands of medical personnel from many countries, both inside the borders of China and around the world.
What’s worth mentioning is that even though most of the students come from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands, which are comparatively backward in medical sciences, an increasing number of students are also coming from Europe, the US, and other developed countries for short- term exchange programs, training, and postgraduate courses. For example, many medical students from Germany and Britain come to Wuhan Union Hospital for internships and research every year. Tulane University sent doctors from the department of anesthesiology to provide training for resident physicians there at Wuhan Union Hospital. Both sides have also cooperated in regards to teacher training and sharing the latest teaching methods and results.
Supported by leading medical colleges and clinical hospitals, Hubei Province is now on its way to building and promoting its international reputation for providing top- notch medical education.
Mohammad Ishraq Zafar working on an experiment 博士研究生扎法尔在潜心实验
Osamah Alwalid in the interventional room
梅萨微在学习急救术 Methavee Chulanuka learning first aid treatment
Selasi Aku Daddy (right) and her instructor Peng Cheng (left) 塞勒茜（右）和辅导员彭程（左）
Professor Chen Rui visiting his patients with two students 主任医师陈瑞带留学生看望病人
Dionne Telemacque at her undergraduate graduation ceremony at Nanchang University 吉依恩在南昌大学本科毕业典礼上
Professor Han Ping explaining a case to her students 韩萍教授向留学生讲解案例