Admissions Blog

Medical students in Duke-NUS Medical School have been taking charge of the learning of Singapore’s local lingo for a few years now. A student-run course called LINGO was started in 2014, where they learn health-related terms and phrases in languages and dialects that are commonly understood by patients in Singapore.

We interviewed Ivy Lau, a final year medical student who is a co-organiser of LINGO for this year.

Who runs LINGO?

Ivy: LINGO was initiated by our senior and now alumni from the Class of 2015 – Dr Petty Chen. The LINGO programme has been running for four years and this year’s course was organised by my classmates, Tan Yu Bin, Goh Kian Leong, and me. Each year, the project is handed over to the 3rd year class council.

Why was LINGO started?

Ivy: LINGO was started to improve communication in the wards so that Duke-NUS medical students, who will go on to become doctors, can better understand their patients’ conditions and ultimately improve health outcomes.

While there are interpreters in the ward to help with language barriers, they are not always available. Nurses try to help too but they are usually extremely busy with nursing tasks alone. As such, we try to be as self-sufficient as we can, by learning phrases in different languages, and learning from our peers who are better-versed in the languages we encounter.

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?

At Duke-NUS, we are not only medical students but also part of the Duke-NUS family. In July, as we transitioned from our embryonic year in medical school to become seniors for the incoming class, we had the great privilege of organizing the welcoming party for the year 1s.

An effective orientation should not only be filled with lots of fun and laughter, but more importantly, help the year 1s warm up to the Duke-NUS family and get comfortable working with their peers. Personally, I benefitted a lot from my orientation and wanted the incoming year 1s to experience the same – if not better.

By Andrew Chou, Class of 2015

Got the itch to stitch? The surgical interest groups (SurgING, OB/GYN SIG, and The Orthopods) hosted a suturing workshop on 26 August 2013 aimed at equipping students with basic hand tying and suturing skills for their clinical postings.

Sponsored fully by Johnson & Johnson Medical, the workshop opened with a lecture on the basics of suture types and needles, followed by an opening speech by A/Prof. Tan Thiam Chye, the clerkship coordinator for the Obstetrics & Gynaecology, on the importance of suturing skills and peer teaching. Senior medical students and recently graduated alumni came back to teach junior students basic skills for surviving their surgical clerkships and tips on how to improve.

Camp Simba is a camp organized for young children whose parents have cancer or have passed away from cancer. To friends and teachers around them, these children appear normal. But with their loved ones fighting against disease or dealing with death, they are often left to fend for themselves, both in their daily lives and emotionally. The grown-ups have various sources of support, but the simple needs of these children are often overlooked.

Every year, students from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School and NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine come together to co-organize a fun-packed 3-day camp in June, and more than a couple additional excursions to local attractions throughout the year.

For more information, please visit the Camp Simba website.


By Kenneth Chin, Class of 2016

In medical school, time is a premium. In spite of the rigorous curriculum, it is still important to maintain a balanced life – the motto is to work hard and play hard.

In the spirit of inducing “play” in our lives, the Class of 2016 Dragon Boat team started in January 2013 and has since grown in numbers – close to a 20 member team! We are a multinational team with an equal mix of male and female members. On Saturday afternoons we embark on 2 hour training regime at the Kallang Basin area. These training sessions are beneficial as we get to enjoy the sun and keep fit. Furthermore, we enjoy a good view of the beautiful scenery of the city’s skyline and Marina Barrage from our training area - this keep us going when the training gets tough!

So, why Dragon Boat racing as a class sport?

Firstly, as healthcare advocates, keeping fit and staying healthy ourselves is of paramount importance. With a healthy body comes a healthy mind. More importantly for students like us, regular exercise refreshes, renews, and keeps the mind sharp.

A battle of skill, grit, wit and sheer hilarity! A great opportunity for interaction and to build camaraderie! A time to de-stress!

Watch snippets from the Duke-NUS 2012 Students Sports Carnival:

This video was produced by the Office of Communications and Development, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.

On Friday 14th December 2012, the Class of 2016 hosted a Christmas Party where several faculty members, Duke-NUS staff and students were present. Everyone enjoyed a scrumptious buffet meal and played exciting games organized by the class. Overall, it was an enjoyable Christmas celebration! View the photos below!

World Autism Awareness Day

Contributed by Debra Quek and Anu Pandey, Class of 2015.

Ion Orchard in Singapore, all lit up in blue

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2 April World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD). Events to commemorate this day are organized all around the world.

Last year, students of Benjamin Sheares College spearheaded the first celebration of WAAD in Singapore, bringing together various autism centres in Singapore to organize a one-day seminar for caregivers. The event was well received and even drew participants from outside Singapore! This year, we had the privilege of collaborating with 5 autism centres in Singapore, namely, Autism Association (Singapore), Autism Resource Centre (Singapore), Rainbow Centre, Shoulders Singapore and St. Andrew’s Autism Centre to organize this year’s activities for WAAD 2012.

Gurangad Singh Chandok

Contributed by Gurangad Singh Chandok, Class of 2015.

Having a Barbeque lunch with the team.

My time at Duke-NUS so far has been extremely rewarding and satisfying. I came to Duke-NUS unsure of how diverse our class would be. I was concerned about adjusting to Singapore and coping with the stress of an intense medical program. However, I was pleasantly surprised right from orientation. Our class is an excellent mix of people from different spheres of education and culture. It has been an absolute pleasure to be a part of Duke-NUS thus far.

Outing with my classmates after an exam.

Outing with my seniors at Clarke Quay.