When I completed my Masters in Sports Medicine with the University of Queensland in 2016, it never crossed my mind that I would one day return to this town to visit some of the best universities and medical schools!
The biggest highlight for me was to visit my Alma Mater, University of Queensland (UQ) and to tour its grand campus with an open courtyard. On top of that, I was really grateful for the insightful discussion with faculty members from Sports Medicine about advances in distance learning technology, and to witness their commitment towards producing interactive and engaging lecture videos, harnessing state-of-the-art video technology, left me envious and happy for the students enrolled at the faculty.
University of Sunshine Coast (USC) also impressed me with its commitment to High-Performance Sports through its dedicated team of coach advisors, physiologists, physiotherapists and student advisors. Their support program has churned out Olympic caliber athletes in various sports such as cycling, swimming, and lifesaving USC is definitely one of the go-to universities if you are keen to pursue high-performance sports while working towards attaining a university degree. As an added bonus, kangaroos are a common sighting at the school’s courtyard which could give your schooling experience there an extra spring!
Exchange with Influential Leaders
It was also with great excitement that I dropped in at Griffith University Medical School to meet with Professor David Ellwood, an Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist who’s also Dean of the Medical School. I was a student of his opinion in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ajo.12525). We chatted about the rise of cesarean sections around the world and the possible social implications and the realization that medicine is only as helpful or harmful as the hands that wield it. Coincidentally, our conversation also discovered that Prof Ellwood had worked at National University Hospital in Singapore for a couple of months in the 1980s!
I also had the opportunity to meet Hand Surgeon Professor Randy Bindra at Gold Coast Hospital (https://www.randybindra.com.au/about/). Interestingly, he had also worked at NUH in the 1990s! The medical fraternity is indeed a small community and it’s amazing to see how we are all connected one way or another. Gold Coast Hospital is a very young hospital with top-notch facilities and shares a lot in common between their orthopedic residency program and what we do in Singapore!
Inspiring the next generation
For those of you who know me, I am not usually one who gives “motivational talks” but on this trip, I was scheduled to engage and share my experiences with several student groups. For instance, we met with students from Student One accommodation, which was also where we stayed in downtown Brisbane on this trip. With an indoor swimming pool and gym, as well as comfortable rooms, this top-end accommodation for foreign students is surely going to be a hit!
We also did an intimate sharing with the University of Queensland Singapore Student Society (UQSSU) which really made me feel so much closer to home as several of the students were studying medicine, engineering, and even forensic sciences! By a fluke of luck and (without premeditated intentions), Jed and I even took the top honors by winning the trivia quiz on Team Singapore at the Commonwealth Games!
Jed was instrumental in guiding me in the crafting of my talk by giving broad pointers and constantly reminding me to ‘speak from my heart’. At that point, I had no idea what he really meant and we just worked on improving the presentation following each engagement session. It all only came together at the final presentation to 80 students at the Navitas English School when I finally had the proverbial ‘Eureka’ moment and everything clicked after I delivered a session that I truly believed in too. In hindsight, the experience was humbling and enriching on several levels and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
It was also with great pride that Jed and I got to witness the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Opening ceremony and saw Team Singapore contingent marching in proudly. Kudos to the hosts who had put up a great show with a beach-lifeguard theme display that included amazing 3D effects.
We also had the privilege of supporting Team Singapore shuttlers in the mixed team event. A huge shout out to our own ONEathlete Ong Renne who did Singapore proud by winning her games! Witnessing and cheering a fellow Team Singapore athlete from the stands added to the thrills and excitement of match-day atmosphere!
Despite this being a work trip in collaboration with Study Queensland and the Queensland Government, we were given the opportunity to visit several popular tourist sites, such as North Stradbroke Island (http://stradbrokeisland.com/)! It was a quick 20min boat ride away from the mainland, where you will be taken away by the miles of quiet sandy beaches, and can enjoy peaceful moments away from the bustle of the city. The cafes on the island also serve fresh seafood caught from the sea, making it a perfect destination for weekend chilling!
I was also pleasantly surprised by the array of food available along Southbank which really reminded me of Singapore. Over several evenings, we had a festive spread of Greek, Mexican and Western cuisines. Our host from Study Queensland, Marion, also brought us to this amazing Chinese dumpling restaurant in WestEnd which really gave our taste buds a treat!
This was an action-packed, fulfilling trip which allowed me to experience what studying in Queensland will be like. It is hardly surprising er that Queensland is popular with overseas Singaporean students, and is a choice destination for the many who are furthering their studies.