Asian Medical Students' Exchange Programme
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The Asian Medical Student’s Exchange Program (AMSEP) is an integral program unique to AMSA. The program allows members of AMSA to participate in a 5-10 day pre-clinical or clinical exchange to a chapter of their liking. The idea was first established in 2003. After thorough consideration, the first pilot AMSEP was conducted between Indonesia and Japan in 2006, and that became the foundation of AMSEP ever since. AMSEP utilises a twinning system, where 2 chapters form a binding contract and perform exchanges bilaterally. Coordinated by their respective Directors of AMSEP, each chapter will take turns hosting and delegating. During the AMSEP, incoming delegates will be accompanied by a group of hosting committee members throughout their stay. The tight-knit relationship and sense of belonging is what makes AMSA distinctive as an exchange program.
The programs and activities during an AMSEP varies, subject to discussion by the involved parties. Nonetheless, AMSEP intrinsicly roots back to AMSA’s philosophy: Knowledge, Action, and Friendship. Key academic components include workshops, keynote lectures, hospital visits, guided hands-on clinical practice, training, academic discussions, learning about the local healthcare or medical education system, etc. Participating students are also expected to give back to the local community through social service activities that employs their medical knowledge. To add, the students will also experience the wondrous cultural aspects of the destination country, which includes visiting iconic landmarks, savouring the local cuisine, and much more. Above all, however, AMSEP allows participants to form lifelong, international friendships with those they meet during the exchange.
AMSEP Tasmania, Australia (2016)
Tasmania was beautiful- the sights and sounds, culture, and most importantly the friendships and adventures we had. From devouring burgers by the sidewalk to suturing lessons and freezing bushwalks, every bit of the exchange was cherished. One of my favourite memories was the wilderness medicine experience, A local Emed doctor gave us a brief talk regarding management of emergency incidents and we were then whisked up Mount Wellington. Little did we know that when we reached out destination, two separate “trekking accidents” had been curated for us, with our buddies acting as patients sporting brain concussions, hypothermia, spinal injuries and the like.
Initially, we were thrown into a frenzy for we were taken aback by the entire situation. Eventually when we started to survey our surroundings and we realized that there were some items around (eg. long twigs, a jacket, a first aid kit) that could well be used to save those lives. We made many medical errors due to our incompetency and lack of observation skill, but also impressed with some quick thinking in many other aspects. It was a meaningful experience and really spurred us to fully comprehend the importance of critical thinking, of not succumbing easily to stressful situations and to work well as a team for the best interest of the patient.
Han Shu Xin, Year 2
AMSEP Tokyo, Japan (2016)
In July 2016, a group of six students from Yong Loo Lin and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine embarked on the first- ever exchange to Tokyo Medical and Dental University. The uniqueness of this week-long exchange was that it was completely student-led, and so we each got to experience the intricacies of the Japanese healthcare system and how being a medical student in Japan is like, first-hand.
Through attending lectures, sitting in for anatomy lab (where the students learnt hands-on through dissecting cadavers) and participating in a BCLS AED course (which is actually a CCA in TMDU), we were able to get a taste of the journey in Medical School there. We also got to experience the vibrant Japanese culture through our homestay with our respective student buddies and from visiting places like the Iraya Summer Festival and a traditional Japanese onsen- a first for most of us.
Truly, this exchange provided us with a valuable experience like no other- from the friends we have made and the new perspectives we have gained. Ultimately, we realized that, despite the differences between us and the Japanese students, we all shared one thing- a passion for humanity and for life.
Elena Angelica, Year 2
AMSEP Hong Kong (2016)
Dim sum. Hiking. Stunning Skylines.
All synonymous with Hong Kong: our close neighbour we were all set to immerse ourselves in.
Arriving during the Mid-Autumn Festival, our Hong Kong friends took it upon themselves to immerse us in the ongoing celebrations. Holed up in the crowded backstreets of Tai Hang, we experienced the passionate, smoke-filled Fire Dragon dance. We later kicked back and relaxed with a mooncake picnic amongst the festive light up in Victoria Park.
We visited Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), joining in on a fascinating dissection tutorial. At Hong Kong University (HKU) we attended a lecture and a Team-based learning session. It was an enriching experience for all of us as we could understand more about the learning environment and student life of our HK friends. Our exchange also involved a wide range of activities, from visiting historical sites like the Mei Ho House Youth Hostel and Victoria Peak, to discovering hidden eateries and local student supper spots. Outside the city, we trekked up Lion Rock Hill, visited the Big Buddha at Lantau Island and stopped by Tai O Fishing. Not to forget our visit to the exhilarating Ocean Park.
We are extremely grateful to our wonderful friends from Hong Kong for hosting us and making this experience so meaningful.
Kavimalar Ravi & Daniel Ng, Year 2
AMSEP London, United Kingdom (2016)
From 23rd to 30th January 2016, 12 medical students from NUS YLL and NTU LKC medical school embarked on an exciting exchange to London and had one of the best experiences ever. Upon reaching Heathrow Airport, we were warmly welcomed by the students from London whom we started off a little awkward with. Fortunately, more students from King’s and Imperial came, and as we got to know each other, a warm fuzzy feeling started inside of us that even made us forget about the cold London weather.
To me, the most unforgettable part of the exchange was learning blunt dissection at King’s college. We were lucky that Professor Hunter was so kind to teach us as he understood the lack of cadavers in Singapore and emphasized the importance of dissection in learning anatomy. He gave us substantial freedom to explore anatomy through dissection and we were really thankful for this precious opportunity. Besides academics, we also went to the many markets around London, immersed ourselves in museums filled with rich arts and culture, visited the Big Ben, London Bridge and London eye, and even took a day trip to Oxford!
The exchange was nothing short of amazing - the memories and friendships forged would always stay close to our hearts. What have I gotten out of this exchange? Fun, fulfilment, and friends.
Amanda Choo, Year 2
AMSEP Tainan, Taiwan (2016)
Just a few weeks before semester 1 started, we spent some time in Taiwan for our exchange. Although we did not have much time there, our Taiwanese friends organised a mini road trip for us! We had the chance to go to an amusement park, take cable cars, go trekking, admire peacocks, visit night markets, and many more.
After that, we had a private tour of the NCKU Hospital at both the Main Branch and at their Douliu Branch. The tour was insightful because we learnt about the differences between their healthcare system and ours. For example, doctors spoke to patients either in Chinese or in dialect but medical notes had to be written in English. We also got to sit in on one of their outpatient sessions.
Overall, I really enjoyed the trip! Our Taiwanese friends were warm and caring throughout the time that we were there and I’m sure that the friendships that we have formed will last for years to come.
Elise Low, Year 2
AMSEP Hualien, Taiwan (2015)
We began our journey in Hualien’s Dongdamen Night Market with an exciting Amazing Race between the seniors and juniors, during which we learnt more about Taiwan and indulged in Taiwanese local delights. The M1s won the race, and the forfeit for M2s involved performing on stage in front of many others at the night market!
We had a tour around the school campus and visited various departments of Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital including radiology, nuclear medicine, and ophthalmology. We also explored their anatomy department to learn more about their Silent Mentor program and had special classes in Tea Appreciation as well as Chinese medicine.
On the third day, we had a bus trip up to Taroko National Park to experience the picturesque scenery it boasts. The entire view of the gorge, mountains and valleys certainly lived up to the reputation of the park, as we were all taken away in fascination by its beauty.
The fourth day was the highlight of our exchange, when we witnessed the initiation ceremony of the Silent Mentor Surgical Simulation Workshop that exemplified the humanistic approach pioneered by TCU. Although we could not participate in the workshop, we had a chance to experience endoscopy training and acupuncture first-hand!
The rest of our time was spent enjoying the school’s graduation ceremony, before we travelled to Shifen, Taipei city and the Shilin night market on subsequent days.
Jason Chng Year 2