ADMISSIONS BLOG

Admissions Blog

Medical Education Financial Aid

Financing a medical education can be challenging and is a huge factor that many MD applicants have to consider. Our school helps students tap on various resources to meet financial needs, including bursaries and merit scholarships. We interviewed an MD student from the Class of 2019, who shared how he finances his medical studies.

What sort of financial aid did you receive when you applied to Duke-NUS Medical School?

As a beneficiary of the School’s financial aid, I am extremely thankful for its generous support. In my first year, I received a Duke-NUS bursary that covered about 75% of my school fees. That helped to reduce the financial burden of attending medical school. I also took a Tuition Fee Loan (TFL) from a local bank that was made possible by MOE and NUS. The maximum TFL that can be taken is 90% of what a Singapore Citizen pays in tuition fees.

How did you finance the remainder of your fees?

In May this year, the 'Student Steps Challenge' was launched, spearheaded by Paik Kwan Woo from the Class of 2018. We speak with Kwan to find out more about how the challenge came about.

What is the Student Steps Challenge?

Kwan: So the Student Steps Challenge is a competition between the four colleges to see which college can amass the most steps within 8 weeks. The college that has the most steps overall will be awarded with a food party + bragging rights.

All the students were given a Mi Band at the beginning of the competition in May. They then had to key in their weekly steps at the end of each week into a google form. All the results are then collated into a graph that shows live updates. All this was made possible by the tech savvy (wizardry) of Elysia Su at Student Affairs. In addition to the grand prize for the college, we also have some individual prizes (e.g. ‘Most Steps’ each week, ‘Most Improved’, ‘Best Trash Talker’) to further encourage students to take a few extra steps every day.

MI Band

Mi band that each student received

What sparked this idea?

Duke-NUS Student at Everest Base Camp

One of my fondest memories - trekking to the Everest Base Camp

Tell us about your path to Duke-NUS.

Prior to entering Duke-NUS, I studied in NUS. There, I majored in Chemistry and minored in Life Science and Forensic Science. These subjects allowed me to be exposed to a wide variety of medical-related topics, from Biochemistry to Forensic Medicine. That got me interested in Medicine. In my second year during my undergraduate studies, I enrolled in the Pre-Medical Track, a programme that is designed to expose students to the translation of scientific discoveries at the bench to changes in the healthcare system at the bedside. I went through a seminar-styled module, modelled after the TeamLEAD learning method that Duke-NUS adopts. It was through this programme that I had opportunities to volunteer at local health screening events with Duke-NUS medical students, interact with various Duke-NUS faculty members, shadow a medical oncologist in the National Cancer Centre, and even go on a Student’s Exchange Programme in Duke University in Durham, North Carolina! Eventually, these opportunities strengthened my interest in Medicine and I decided to apply to Duke-NUS during the end of undergraduate third year. I have never wavered in my decision since.

The Cookie Project is a peer teaching initiative started in 2016 by the graduating Class of 2016, to help our junior classes be better equipped in their clinical skills - from bedside tutorials on targeted history taking, physical examination and oral presentation to didactic lectures on topics such as X-Ray and ECG interpretation. This became our final “farewell” gift to our school!

How the project came about 
The idea came about during the long and tedious process of preparing for CPX4, our final MD exam. We were fortunate to have good junior doctors (alumni from both Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Duke-NUS), and senior doctors who took time off their rest hours to give us bedside tutorials. We also had very nice patients who willingly let us examine them so that we could pass our exams and graduate as doctors.

After passing CPX4, I thought we should not let the good effort end there. We had a window period of about 2 months before graduation and this was a period where we were at our peak proficiency in our medical school journey. Instead of letting our clinical skills atrophy without further benefitting anyone, a group of us decided that we should pay it forward and organise small group teaching sessions for our juniors.

Project Dove, the Duke-NUS Overseas Volunteering Expedition, organized annually by Duke-NUS medical students, aims to improve health efforts in the surrounding regions. Last month, our team of students and faculty conducted a 3-day mobile clinic and health education program for the underserved in the town of Lembang, located in the province of West Bandung, Indonesia. With the help of local translators, they provided health screening and treated common medical problems to the townsfolk, and educated children and teachers at an orphanage on personal hygiene and basic first aid skills. Here are some pictures from our trip:

Duke-NUS Overseas Volunteering Expedition

Angela (Class of 2017) and Lianghe (Class of 2019) listen attentively to a patient's issues

 

Checking the Patient

Xueling (Class of 2017) listening to a patient's lungs and heart

 

Tell us about your path to Duke-NUS.

Before coming to Duke-NUS, I did my undergraduate studies in NUS and majored in Pharmacy. During my third year of studies, I did a 6-week hospital attachment and that experience shifted my sights to a possible medical career. After I graduated, I trained as a pre-registration pharmacist in National University Hospital (NUH) for 9 months and subsequently took some time off to develop my sporting interests before starting in Duke-NUS.

White Coat Ceremony Day

White coat ceremony day with my parents

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

I love playing sports. It’s all fun, friends and exercise wrapped into one. Most of the time, I play touch rugby and last year, I went to the Touch World Cup 2015 that was held in Australia. It was an awe-inspiring and humbling experience to play against the best teams in the world. Being active helps keep me balanced and sane so I still play in leagues games on Saturdays whenever I can.

Would you share a great experience or opportunity you’ve had at Duke-NUS?

A bit about me

Hi there! I'm Aaron, a first year student in the Duke-NUS MD programme. I graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical and Biomolecular) in 2015 and joined Duke-NUS right after.

An Engineer's Journey to Medicine

Graduating from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 2015 with a Bachelor of Engineering

Since I was a kid, I had always been intrigued by the idea of being a doctor; a professional who is able to provide comfort, assurance and love for the sick. I decided on an engineering degree for my undergraduate studies because I did not know if I was ready to do Medicine then, and engineering had a good mix of my interest in the sciences and mathematics. I enjoyed what I studied in my undergraduate degree but the idea of Medicine always lingered at the back of my mind.

How I got interested in Medicine

There are a couple of reasons that led to my decision to do Medicine. During my undergraduate days, I enjoyed doing community work to help the needy and the sick. It was during those days when I realized how much joy I could give by interacting with the elderly, and saw the impact of forging connections with those in need of our time and help.

Anna Uehara (PhD Student)

Student Spotlight

Fort San Cristobal in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Tell us about your path to Duke-NUS.

I graduated with a B.Sc in Neuroscience with Honors and a B.A. in Music, concentrating on flute performance from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, USA. During my undergraduate years, I was a member of Professor Kathleen Page’s lab where I studied the effects of altered melatonin levels on the expression of genes involved in the circadian rhythm. After Bucknell, I started my Masters in Global Health at Duke University, North Carolina, USA. For my thesis project, I went to Sri Lanka and spent some time here at Duke-NUS studying Sri Lanka’s dengue epidemics with Duane Gubler and Christopher Woods. After graduating from Duke, I came to Duke-NUS to enroll in the PhD program focusing on emerging infectious diseases. I am now a member of Wang Linfa and October Sessions’ laboratories focusing on pathogen detection from sequencing and serological platforms.

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

Outside of science, my passion is music. I enjoy freelancing on piano and flute or having jam sessions with friends. I also have a strong case of wanderlust and enjoy traveling around the SE Asia region when time allows.

I embarked on a 6-week long trip to the US for an overseas away elective in Abdominal Transplant Surgery in Duke University Medical Center. I also fortunately planned and had the privilege on going for a major international scientific meeting, the annual ASCO GI Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, California. I started the trip touring the east coast's New York City, Boston and Washington DC for a couple of weeks prior to the commencement of the elective as it was my first time in the USA! I thoroughly enjoyed the Big Apple, spending New Year's eve counting down to 2016 at Times Square, visiting famous medical medical landmarks and national monuments in the nation's capital. I also had to eke out some time from the elective for my International Foundations of Medicine (IFOM) exam and the USMLE Step 2CS (Clinical Skills) Exam! The most memorable though was the chance to fly out in a private jet on a trans-state organ procurement surgery followed by the opportunity for scrub up for multiple surgeries to implant these harvested organs. I must say that it was certainly a rewarding and eye-opening 6 weeks, probably the most enriching time of my life!

Here are some snapshots of my amazing time in the US:

1. Traveling and Exploring NYC, Boston, Washington DC before the commencement of my elective at Duke

Danny Tng (Year 1 MD Student)

Student Spotlight

Tell us about your path to Duke-NUS.

I did my Bachelors in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. In my final year of Bachelors, I had the opportunity to participate in cancer related research. It was then that I had the dream of contributing to healthcare though research. I decided to stay on for 3 more years at NTU to do my PhD, working on micromachines and nanomedicines for cancer treatment in Prof Yong Ken-Tye’s group. Concurrently, I also had the opportunity to work as a researcher for the NTU x National Healthcare Group (NHG) collaboration project with Adj Prof Tan Cher Heng. During that time I had the privilege of working with many researchers as well as clinician scientists who shared the same dream as me. It was then that I had the aspiration to become a clinician scientist in order to care for patients as well as to have the ability to do research which can directly contribute to taking better care of them in the future.

What are some of your interests and hobbies?

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