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Malaysian student flies the Otago flag

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Eunice Tan standing in lab 418
Malaysian student Eunice Tan is an Otago University ambassador.

Malaysian student Eunice Tan is enjoying her Otago experience so much that she has become an ambassador for the School of Pharmacy.

Previously a student at the International Medical University in Malaysia, Eunice is studying at the Otago School of Pharmacy through an arrangement between the two universities.

Associate dean marketing, communication and engagement, Joel Tyndall, says students who have completed their second year of study towards a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree at the International Medical University can transfer to the BPharm degree at Otago. They have direct entry into the third year of the programme, subject to completing a short bridging course.

Eunice is now one of several Otago ambassadors happy to speak to any of her peers in Malaysia interested in following in her footsteps.

She was attracted to studying at Otago because she wanted her tertiary studies to be more than just about obtaining a degree. She wanted to study abroad and was keen on living in New Zealand.

“I wanted to attend Otago University not only because of its reputation of excellence, but also because I knew that the pharmacy programme here was going to be a great one, with highly qualified and experienced professors that would ultimately prepare me well for my profession in the near future.”

She admits it has not been all plain sailing. After the initial euphoria of the change in environment passed, Eunice says she began to feel homesick but began involving herself in activities and groups such as the Otago Malaysian Students’ Association, which helped.

Getting used to the teaching style and examinations was initially a challenge also, but Eunice says senior students at the school have been approachable and supportive and willing to share sound advice.

Overall, her experience is extremely positive.

“I really appreciate the passion and vibrancy on campus which can be felt whenever I interact with the students here or when I participate in an event,” Eunice says.

“Each student here is so involved, passionate and there is a thread of energy that permeates through the campus, which really motivates you to realise your potential in the form of academics, extra-curricular activities and personal development.”

Eunice has enjoyed her studies so much she would like to carry out her internship in New Zealand and become a registered pharmacist here.

Dr Tyndall says Otago University is currently exploring a reciprocal arrangement whereby Otago students could study in Malaysia.

There are currently several alumni from Otago who now work at the International Medical University in Malaysia including Dr Norman Chieng, who completed his BPharm degree at Otago, followed by a PhD.

Article written by Liane Topham-Kindley for PharmacyToday, June 2016

Photography by Rewa Pene