Studying Pharmacy 10,000km from home

Phei Shan is an international student from Malaysia and is studying Pharmacy MPharm (Hons) here at The University of Bradford. She tells us about her course and why she chose it, along with other things that she does here at Bradford.

Phei Shan, Pharmacy MPharm (Hons)

Hi there! My family and friends back in Malaysia call me Phei Shan, but here in the UK, I am often known by my last name; Lee.

I first set foot in the UK in September 2018 to embark on my five-year-long journey towards becoming a registered pharmacist. I am currently in the second year of the MPharm course (oh, how time flies indeed).

When I am not revising for the biweekly tests or carrying out an exciting experiment in the lab, I am often found at the weekly sign language classes in student central or in my kitchen trying out new recipes. You may have caught a glimpse of me if you have attended the open days recently, as I am also a student ambassador.

Why I chose to study Pharmacy

When I was thinking of courses to apply for, I wanted one which would involve chemistry and biology. However, I was also drawn to the person-centred approach of humanities subjects. I found that pharmacy has a good balance as it incorporates both pharmacology and clinical skills, not to mention the fact that the career opportunities are endless.

As an international student, I knew right away that the 5-year route was the one for me. The sandwich pre-registration year gives me the option of experiencing both community and hospital pharmacy, which is a unique aspect that not many pharmacy schools offer.

The course

In my course, no two weeks are ever the same because the timetable changes weekly. As such, I am never bored because teaching sessions are varied and could be in the form of team-based learning, dispensing labs, computer labs, science or aseptic labs, lectures and workshops.

For most weeks, I have about 10–15 contact hours. As I live near campus, my friends and I regularly meet up in the library to revise together. I am also a national representative of the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association, so I am kept busy co-ordinating events and competitions for my peers in the School of Pharmacy.

Future plans

I know a 5-year course sounds like a long time, but it really goes by quickly! In no time, I will be wearing my cap and gown and bidding farewell to university life.

At the moment, I plan to do my sandwich placements in community and hospital pharmacies. With community pharmacy, I enjoy the abundance of patient contact and consultation opportunities. However, I am also torn between it and hospital pharmacy because I would also love the challenge of applying my clinical skills and working within a multidisciplinary team. Either way, I believe that it will truly be an asset to have experience in both sectors.

Being an international student

I speak for many international students when I say that studying abroad on your own is never easy and comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Personally, it has shaped me to be the student I am today; one who manages her time well, is driven and is always open to new experiences. Old me would have said no to many activities, but now I find myself trying out ice skating and bowling in the city! I even took up French for one semester and have met friends who teach me Urdu, German, Persian and Greek.

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