Charlene is a medical student at the University of Hong Kong. In the following HKU case study, she tells us about studying in Hong Kong as an overseas student, extracurricular activities and her workload while studying Medicine.

HKU Case Study: Charlene

What are the best things about your medical school?

  1. The Faculty have decided to launch a “130th anniversary curricula” this year, whereby in the third year of the 6-year curriculum, the students will be able to have a personalised enrichment year. In other words, students get a gap year to do whatever interests them most. This is a very exciting piece of news, because not only can this broaden our horizons and allow us to see the world, but we can also pursue different kinds of learning – e.g. humanities, engineering – which would help with future medical innovations with this interdisciplinary perspective and mindset.
  2. The systems approach to medicine that HKU takes is really useful for training future clinicians, as it realistically mimics what one will be exposed to in their medical careers. For instance, when a patient comes to you with some eye problems, you can easily consider the anatomy, physiology of the eyes, as well as appropriate clinical examinations and further interventions.
  3. Although there’s some healthy competition, students are usually very approachable and friendly. The students from upper years are also very supportive and are open to any questions and concerns.

What are the hardest things about your course? 

  1. Due to the new curriculum as mentioned above, the faculty effectively compressed a 6-year curriculum into a 5-year one, there is a lot of information to process, which can be quite stressful at times.
  2. Following on from point one, due to the heavy workload, it can be difficult to balance extra-curricular activities with work. Extra-curriculars are important – it allows us to make long-lasting friendships, as well as providing us with a platform to relax and de-stress.
  3. The PBL approach that HKU uses requires a lot of independent learning, but at the same time, also demands good communication and teamwork skills. This could be a big jump for a lot of students, but as the year moves along, it gets easier!

What’s the social side of your Medical School like?

The social aspect is amazing. I think this is partly facilitated by the diversity of extra-curricular activities that students can join, which allows us to be supportive of each other. Activities range from volunteering-based clubs (for example Medical Outreachers) to singing (such as Medici Cantano). I would highly recommend them!

What tips would you give to somebody applying to your Medical School?

  1. For your interview, it would be helpful to know the medical system in Hong Kong and the recent news. This is especially important for students studying overseas.
  2. Interviewers may sometimes challenge your answers. Don’t fret! They are just there to test how you deal with stressful situations. Just do your best.

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