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Student Spotlight: Chang Min Kai

25 Feb 2019
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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.

What are some of your interests?

On some weekends, I play volleyball and catch up with my friends. Some of our favourite hang-outs include random hawker centres and the virtual world - on computer games like DOTA. Apart from that I also enjoy nature and travel. One of my fondest memories is trekking to the Everest Base Camp. I guess medical students have to love and appreciate nature to some extent; after all, isn’t human anatomy and physiology one of nature’s best creations?

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

There have been so many amazing experiences at Duke-NUS but perhaps one of the most memorable one would be Project D.O.V.E, short for Duke-NUS Overseas Volunteering Expedition. Along with a few doctors from SGH and KKH, we set up a mobile clinic in Kampong Speu in Cambodia. Despite the torrential rain that flooded our tents and the black beetles that haunted us wherever we go, we saw about 450 patients at our clinic.

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Examining patients at our clinic during Project DOVE 

With the help of translators, we manned triage, addressed their medical issues, conducted physical examinations, and administered medication. We also helped in delicing, deworming, nail clipping, dental health education and hand hygiene education. At the end of the trip, we fostered lasting friendships with the Cambodians, learned some Cambodian phrases and tried “balut”. It was a fulfilling and humbling experience.

What would you say to prospective students?

We are a closely-knit community of students from different countries and backgrounds that learn and have fun together. Beyond academics, Duke-NUS offers many opportunities for students to serve the community and develop their interests. You can start any 'Student Interest Group' if you can rally your friends to join you.

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A few students from the Class of 2018 on a trip to Taiwan

It is never too late to discover what you want to do for the rest of your life. In the words of Sir William Osler, Canadian physician and one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital, medicine is a “calling which offers a combination of intellectual and moral interests found in no other profession”.

Still want to know more? Contact Min Kai at changminkai@gmail.com