Buddies Timothy Tan (above, left) and Jonathan Boey share similar aspirations and common roots.
Both are 23. Both have doctors in their families. Both graduated from Anglo-Chinese School (ACS).
Both firmly believe in the power of medicine to heal people and to build communities.
But had it not for overseas education consultant IDP, they probably would never have met each other, let alone become good friends while studying at the University.
Through IDP, they secured placement in 2016 with the department of medicine at the Australian university, which enabled them to continue on their shared career goal of becoming medical doctors.
Mr Boey and Mr Tan are now third-year Bachelor of Medical Science/Doctor of Medicine students and housemates at the same university, and the president and vice-president of UNSW Singapore Student’s Association respectively.
Medical degrees from UNSW are recognised by Singapore Medical Council.
Mr Travis Kok, Regional Delight Customers Ambassador at overseas education consultant IDP, said “fresh learning cultures, an international network of friends and professional contacts, and industrial exposure in a foreign country” are just some of the many advantages of an overseas education.
IDP, which celebrates its golden jubilee this year, has helped over 30,000 Singaporeans secure an overseas education.
Mr Boey and Mr Tan, who are reaping the benefits of exposure to an Australian university education, can testify to these advantages.
Mr Boey’s doctor brother who graduated from National University of Singapore had advised him to study abroad.
“He told me that the opportunities gained would expose me to new perspectives,” he says, adding that the culture in Australia has a similar focus on well-integrated research and analytical skills as the IB (International Baccalaureate) programme he underwent in Singapore.
“While doctors do need to do the right thing in difficult situations, they also need to be progressive in their thinking. I find that critical and analytical thinking are well-integrated in Australian education.”
Mr Tan said that from their very first term at UNSW, they were introduced to clinical skills and allowed to speak with patients and even perform examinations on them. An elderly Aids sufferer left a deep impression on him.
“In the course of our studies, we visited a local hospital to examine and speak with an Aids sufferer in her sixties… Despite being frail and weak, she had good access to medical help and counselling, he said.
“This advocacy and respect for people has shaped us as future doctors, and is something we are looking forward to bringing back home.”
For more information, visit IDP’s flagship International Education Expo from March 2 and 3 at level 4 of the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre.
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Feb 23, 2019.