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​Imperial Exchange 2019: Reflections

Published on: 28-Mar-2019

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Written by Hannah Abbott, Class of 2022

Walking towards the centuries-old Imperial College London campus, we were greeted by early signs of spring: cheery daffodils, pale pink magnolia blossoms, and chilly winds. The college buildings were strikingly different to those of LKCMedicine – Victorian brick buildings with elaborate architectural details contrasted in my mind against the three-year-old fully glass Clinical Sciences Building back home. Touring the campus, we learnt about the rich history behind it, and saw where some of the original walls built in 1850 were preserved.

We were welcomed warmly and had an eye-opening time attending a variety of classes together with Imperial students. The very first session we had was dissection, and we experienced learning anatomy via cadavers, as opposed to the plastinated specimens we have back home. Guided by the Imperial students, many of us tried our hand at dissection and identified the structures we had learnt about during our own anatomy lab sessions. A group of six students was assigned to each cadaver, which they would use for two years before attending the funeral of the donor.

We also had the opportunity to sit in lectures with the Imperial students. Although similar to lectures we had listened to back in junior college. Many of my peers concluded that we much rather preferred having the ability to speed Team-Based Learning (TBL) prep sessions to x2.0 speed.

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Throughout the week, I noticed many similarities and differences between Imperial's curriculum and learning pedagogy and our own. While we learn exclusively by TBL, Imperial students had a cocktail of TBL, Problem-Based Learning (PBL), lectures and more. While their science practicals seem largely similar to ours, they use different systems that integrated the pre-reading material and data collection. In addition, their medical school – due to its longer existence – has many well-established clubs and societies that students could participate in.

Their clinical teachings were new to us as well — and very enjoyable – as we got to sit in to listen to cases and observe how a multidisciplinary team function in real life, while picking up insight about the National Health System (NHS), all while sitting in a 300-year-old hospital.

We wrapped up the immersion programme with each student presenting a short video on their learning experiences and it was clear that everyone had many enriching take-home messages. For example, while Imperial bears many similarities to LKCMedicine, there are also many subtle differences that make each school unique. All these differences are things we can learn from and adapt to our own context in Singapore. At the same time, there is beauty in the way medical education has been adapted to two separate cultures and healthcare systems. I am glad to be part of the effort to strengthen ties between LKCMedicine and our sister school in the UK. 

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