Ending summer & approaching autumn
With the end of the first four weeks' summer program, and some SJTUSM students returned to our lovely motherland, while the others remain to have another two weeks of the joint introduction unit. During the free fifth week, not only did we enjoy the authentic and delicious hot pot, of which the ingredients were brought from Sichuan, which made us a bit homesick, but we also paid a visit to the Niagara Falls and the Sky Tower nearby, where we enjoyed the tasty buffet accompanied with the beautiful overlooking scenery.
Then comes our two weeks' unit. Due to the long distance between where we live and the Faculty of Medicine, it’s hard for us to prepare for our breakfast and lunch. Thus, the dinners become more important, each one is well-cooked, fancy and delicious. Curry rice, Hainanese chicken rice, fried rice with eggs, there must be one kind that suits you. Fried pork slice, Cabbage with vinegar sauce, Pan-fried fish slice, Broccoli with mashed garlic, it’s the best match for the vegetables and meat.
Peer support program
On September 2nd, we officially met our peers at the Peer Support Program launch meeting. After a pleasant matching activity, we found our own peers. In the next two weeks, we will spend two weeks' study and life with our Canadian friends in the school opening season. On September 3rd, the Welcome Ceremony of the Faculty of Medicine was held. On the ceremony, the Dean gave the students three “E”s: core values of this top ten medical school in Canada, which are engagement, excellence and effective. The Vice Dean, Dr. Forgie also let us remember that we are not only the students of SJTUSM but also members of uOttawa, which means we should require more of ourselves in a stricter way.
After a week of communication with our Canadian partners, we felt the warmth, friendliness, inclusiveness and humor of the uOttawa medical students, and witnessed their wisdom and creativity. They knew more about China through our eyes, and we knew more about Canada because of them. We found out that not only could we gain a two-week friendship, we also gain a lifelong friend from a different culture. In the next four years, we can help each other in study and solve troubles in life together. We think we're very lucky to be able to create bonds on the other side of the world.
The main purpose of the two weeks of the introduction unit is to allow us to experience the Canadian medical education model and to get involved with the students here at the Faculty of Medicine, the University of Ottawa. The Faculty of Medicine is characterized by a clear understanding of the curriculum by the students. The school is not eager to carry on new courses, but has carried out a series of “tutoring” introduction courses, from the second-year seniors to the professors of the hospital, all of whom are the directors, using group discussions, and interdisciplinary methods in learning and life. It provides us with the guidance needed and eliminates the fear and incomprehension of coming to the new environment so that we can learn better in the future.
The UDA (unit-directed activity)-based courses, introduce the precautions of the foundation unit, and play an important role in the introduction unit. There are also some professionalism courses, such as SIM (society, individual, and medicine), which defines the relationship between medicine and society. We have established our sense of identity as future doctors from the humanities sessions and lectures.
One part of the curriculum that is most worthy of mentioning is: PSD (physician skill development), the Faculty pays much attention to the medical students' practical skills. So besides learning from textbooks, we also need to participate in skills training such as history taking, etc. The Faculty emphasizes on humanistic care, protects the patient's emotions, and comforts the patient while asking about the diseases. As Dr. Trudeau’s epitaph says: “Sometimes heal, often help, always comfort.”
The MCAT exam is a unique highlight on this trip to Canada. MCAT, the Medical College Entrance Test, is the beginning of every doctor's career in the North American medical system. The silence that filled the 7-hour exam, the head-scratching on difficulty questions, it’s hard to describe the entire experience. The exam is divided into four sections, which are like four different styles of tracks. The Chemistry and Physics part is like a roller coaster, which means it is really easy if you know the principle but is hard to deal with if you not. The Logical Inference part that follows is a dizzying maze of texts, which resembles the English version of the Chinese College Entrance Exam (Gaokao) social science reading texts. Then the Biology section, is surprisingly mild, giving you a sense of hope. But then there's the Psychosocial part at the end, where the unfamiliar nouns directly make you flip over. However, after the examination, when we look back, we feel that every part and every question, is like the epitome of us who have studied so far, there are efforts and regrets, surprises and accidents, and also different thoughts and feelings.