AMSEP Philippines (6-13th November 2010)
The Asian Medical Students’ Exchange Program (AMSEP) creates opportunities for international preclinical exchanges between AMSA International countries. The program varies every year as it depends on the host country and university students to organize the schedule. Participating students not only learn about the health system, medical education and healthcare, but also have a great chance to experience the cultural aspects of the exchange country in a social program.
I was really blessed to be selected as one of the delegates to represent Malaysia in this exchange program , which was held from 6th to 13th of November. We were welcomed by the AMSEP organising committee from the University of The Philippines in Manila.
The purpose of this exchange is to broaden our horizons as well as get to know medical students from other countries since the classes are conducted in different methods. Some aspects that are covered in this exchange program are social, academic and cultural.
For those selected do not have to worry about expenses since the host will pay for accommodation, transport and food. All we have to pay is the air ticket, and of course own expenses like buying souvenirs. Hence, we will also do the same when we play host to them in a months’ time.
Any vacationer would attest to the beauty of Philippines as seen through its vibrant culture enmeshed with its epic landmarks. As opposed to any ordinary trip, AMSEP Philippines gave me the sublime opportunity for academic exposure and socio-cultural immersion. I had the supreme privilege to be cordially welcomed by fellow medical students, intermingle with them in daily activities, and learn both Western medicine and Filipino ethnology. These interactions made me see the heart of Manila. By doing so, my memories of Philippines became more remarkable and cherished than I could have ever expected. For that, I sincerely thank everyone who has helped in planning and accomplishing AMSEP Philippines. It made me realize that it’s not so much the place that could make a visit memorable. It’s the concept of turning a group of strangers into a family, and a foreign place into your home.
Before going to Philippines, I really didn’t know what to expect from AMSEP. I was simply excited for whatever was in store for us. After landing at the airport, we, the AMSA-Malaysia delegates, thought that Manila was strikingly similar to Malaysia. However, on our first day in Manila, we were immediately proved wrong. Manila had a totally different culture, which was very nice to experience. The delicious food, the language, the architecture, etc. were all very interesting and delightful to take in. We were able to participate in academic activities that were all new to me, since I am just an incoming “med proper” student. At the same time, we were able to go around Manila with the help of all the amazing people in AMSA and also the non-members who were friendly and helpful. Our schedule was really tight, but I was really impressed that we were able to follow most of it, if not all. What was even more amazing was that even if we were together almost 24/7 with just a little sleep and internet in between, we never get tired of seeing each other and doing memorable things, like posing and taking pictures of all the cool things we see! I am really thankful for my AMSEP experience in Manila, and I want to thank all the people who made it happen. Thank you to fellow delegates, AMSA-Philippines, and AMSA Malaysia. You’re the coolest! I miss you all and I’ll always treasure every moment we had together.
Valerie Ngu Pei Hwa
National University of Malaysia.