Study and life experience at Nanjing Medical University

It is still vivid in my mind, how I struggled, to finally achieve my dream of studying medicine. Like many of my classmates, I have good results which satisfy the criteria to make me eligible as a medical student. However, unlike many of them, it was not easy in many aspects to go and study medicine abroad. Today, I am proud to say that I am a student of Nanjing Medical University, currently in my fourth year of medicine. I would like to relate my experience from how desperately impossible it seemed for me to study medicine to being a medical student with the prestigious Jasmine Scholarship at Nanjing Medical University.

Since childhood I have always wanted to be a doctor and I have been working for it.  After my high school, I wanted to study medicine in my country itself. So I applied to study medicine, I went through the interview and I was eligible to be admitted. However it was too costly and due to financial reasons I was forced to abandon my dream and study Chemical and Renewable Energy Engineering at the University of Mauritius. I did not want to put any financial burden on my parents so I opted to study Engineering. I completed my first year, and during vacations, the idea of studying medicine was still haunting me. I really wanted not to give up this dream and decided to try my luck to look for any scholarship to any part of the world in order to study medicine. So I started to made online applications to universities worldwide and agencies looking for the possibility of scholarship. I knew the probability for me to get a scholarship was so little because I started to made applications by late July. By this time all the scholarship winners were already chosen.

Before I did not know much about agencies that help student to go abroad such as Cucas or Ovec , which are both present in my country. While checking my e-mails the next day, I got many responses. One of those e-mails which interested me the most was a reply from the Ovec agency telling me that there is possibility for scholarship to Nanjing Medical University. Actually the scholarship was meant to be a one entrance scholarship which most medical students with good results are awarded. I did not know about the different types of scholarships available but I wanted one that would cover for most of my study cost. The same day I took all the necessary papers and went to their office accompanied with a friend. They checked all my papers and said that I would easily get admission to the University. Then I asked about the possibility of any scholarship that could cover most of the study cost. Actually there was a kind of scholarship known as the Jasmine Government Scholarship which covers about 60% of the study cost. There were four of this Jasmine Scholarship which has been already designated to four Mauritian students. But miraculously and fortunately for me, one of the four students got an offer for a scholarship to another university and rejected the Jasmine Scholarship to Nanjing Medical University. So there was a vacant application to apply for the fourth Jasmine Scholarship. The assistants working there helped me to fill the form and they processed my applications and I was told to wait for some days for a reply for the Jasmine Government Scholarship application.

After three days, I got a call and I was told that I was granted the Jasmine Government scholarship and was told to pay the deposit money as soon as possible to secure my place at the University. So I did all the requirements and among the rules in order to keep benefiting from this scholarship,is to keep having good grades and respect the University rules and regulations. If I made it for far it mainly due to God’s grace, my parents and I always have a special appreciation for the Ovec agency without which I would never have made it so far.

Finally I made it to be a medical student at Nanjing Medical University. I still remembered we came to Nanjing on the first week of September. We were about 35 Mauritians in my batch and most of us came together on the same flight. I know that changing environment would not be that easy but at last with all the facilities we had from the University, it was not that difficult. We were even accompanied by the head of Ovec agency, Mr Francky. We were provided university buses to pick us at the airport.  We arrived quite late at night to our dormitory. Upon arrival, everyone was assigned their rooms. According to me, this was the most difficult transition. We were not yet provided with mattresses but upon some appeal from Mr Francky and students, within some days all rooms were provided with mattresses. Some of us took days to adapt to our new environment, some weeks and some a little bit longer. But at last all of us got adapted.

The first few days we were supposed to do the orientation in order to know around better. We saw our teaching building, canteen, playground, bank etc. The campus was quite big. The teaching building well equipped with air-conditioner, heater, projector, etc, all to put us in the best conditions for studies. In each of our classrooms, is equipped with attendance machines. The purpose of these attendance machines is to monitor absences or lateness. It is a rule in our University that a certain number of absences should be punished by a ‘warning’. Basically, we have lectures only during week days and are free during weekends. The teaching building is meant for lectures only. Other building consists of the Physic lab, Chemistry lab, Pathology lab, Parasitology lab, Biochemistry lab, Pharmacology lab and other laboratories. All of them are equipped with the latest technology. The University also have a big library where many categories of books are available, internet services available and also spaces for study.

Food is a major concern for many of us. On campus we have six canteens, four of which provide Chinese dishes and the remaining two provide with Indian dishes. Among the six canteens, three of them provide ‘halal’ food mainly for Muslims students. So food is not a problem at all. Also we have supermarket on the campus which stays open till 10 pm. Concerning sports facilities, we have a big football ground, volleyball pitches, basketball pitches and a tennis court. Just recently, the university just build a new gymnasium and many sports and activities are accessible such a table tennis, karate, Tai Kwando, Taichi and many others. Sports competitions are often organised by the University and the international student participate as a team against other faculties. I have been practicing karate for 3 years now and so far we have always been winning the football competition.

Security is a major issue for the University, so cameras are everywhere around the campus. Moreover, we have rules and regulations that are designed for our safety. We are not allowed to ride motor bike without licence and mainly in the campus. Also the campus is equipped with a 24/7 clinic and transport facilities to bring student to hospital if required. We also have some dormitory regulations. Girl’s dormitory and boy’s dormitory are separated. There are always two assistants there to ensure our safety. The dormitory gate closes at 11 pm, so we are not allowed to go out after 11 pm. In our first year at the university, we are compelled to stay at the dormitory. However, it is possible later to stay outside the university by renting a house. There are many house agencies that will help if interested. The advantages of staying outside is that you are more free but there are more expenses such as water bills, gas bills and electricity bills which need not to be paid if staying in the dormitory.

Studying medicine is a long time process demanding great amount of dedication and passion for the profession. The study duration at Nanjing Medical University is of six years duration including one year of internship. The first year consists of learning premedical subjects such as Chemistry, Medical Physics, Maths, and Computer and also we get to learn Chinese as well. The Chinese will help us to interact in our daily life and mainly during our internship. It is during the second year we are taught medical subjects such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology, histology and others. We also have the corresponding labs for our practical. Our labs are really good and the teachers so far all have been graduated from UK or US or they are Professors, Doctors, all with good fluent English. So we have no problem communicating with the teachers because they are as fluent as us. The method of teaching through the use of PowerPoint presentations whereby we are taught the contents and we are asked to go and read more about the lesson if we want to learn more.  If ever we have any problems concerning the lectures of if we need to ask questions, the teachers gave us their e-mail to be in touch with them. I personally think it is a very good idea. Also I have noticed that the materials keep on changing accordingly. If ever there is any new advancement in medical research, so the contents of the presentation will be changed accordingly.

One of the good qualities of our University is a good planning. Before the start of the semester we are given a time table for our classes including even the scheduled days of examination. In this way, we as students can be mentally and materially prepared well before. It is not the case of many other universities where their exams days are told to them some weeks before. Even our practical classes in hospitals are already planned and buses are provided to us. So we have the chance to see, interact with patients and ask questions to our teachers if we are in doubt. Our University is affiliated to many hospitals one of which in the People’s Hospital which is the biggest and most famous one in Jiangsu Province.

As a medical student, my aim is to be one day a great medical practitioner and passing exams is among the road to this dream. We not only have written exams but also practical exams. Practical exams are done in labs and we are given pictures or slides to identify. We are even provided with standardised patients for diagnostic exams. So we are given the chance to practice on the standardised patients during practical classes. As far as written exams are concerned, the best way to get prepared is to attend classes and follow attentively. Sometimes during lectures, the teachers might stress more on some topics and that would be a good hint for exam. Practice makes perfect, so other ways to get ready for exams is to work previous exams questions. What I usually like to do is study group. I think this have been helping me and my friends a lot.

There have been many critics about the level of education in China recently in my country. I study in one of the best Chinese Medical University and I am confident that my level of education compared to others is not less and I know Nanjing Medical University is a great institution. It all depends on oneself. It depends of the dedication you put through, the passion you have, the skills you developed and the will never to back down. While learning I am also enjoying this great country. I have been to some places around China and it is always great to see cultural diversification. China is a great country and a world leading economy. In terms of technology China is among the best and so many technologies are being implemented in the medical sector. If I have chances to do further study here, I will surely consider these opportunities.


Author Details:

Name: Dookhun Muhammad Nabeel

Nationality:  Mauritian

University:  Nanjing Medical University

Major:  MBBS