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Australian National University (ANU)

  • 36% international / 64% domestic

Kayoung Choi

I studied mathematics for my undergraduate and finished a Master's degree in Economics. I am currently studying medicine full time.

About you

What did you study at undergraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now? Are you studying and working at the same time?

I am an MD student. I studied mathematics for my undergraduate and finished a Master's degree in Economics, graduating in 2014. I am currently studying medicine full time. I am not working at the moment.

What have been the most important stages of your life?

Undergraduate (mathematics) in Korea, one-semester exchange student in Singapore, working as teaching assistant and research assistant during university, three-month backpacking South-East Asia, volunteering at an international development NGO in Korea, two-year masters (economics) in the UK, helping organise conferences in the UK, deciding to study medicine and moving to Australia

How did you get to your current (or most recent) job position and how long have you been working there?

I prepared for the GAMSAT and applied for postgraduate medicine degrees in Aus. I've been studying for a year.

About your course

What made you decide to progress with further study?

I became gradually interested in public health through traveling, volunteering, and reading in my spare time. It also intersected with my postgraduate degree in economics. I decided I want to not just do research involving health but actually interact with the vulnerable and provide practical help. That led to my determination to pursue an education and career in medicine.

How did you choose your particular further study course (compared to others)? / Were you weighing up any alternative degrees or career pathways before choosing this qualification?

I wanted to study postgraduate medicine in an English-speaking country. Australia was the obvious choice because many of the programs didn't require an undergraduate background in biology or chemistry, which I lacked. Among the MD programs in Australia, the one at ANU stood out for its small cohort size and emphasis on rural health.

What was the process to get accepted into your course? What were the prerequisites?

There was an undergraduate GPA requirement but no specific subject prerequisites. I needed to study for and take the GAMSAT which is held twice a year. The application considered those two criteria to select those who will be invited for an interview. The format of the interview was the MMI (multiple mini interview). As an international student, I also needed a proof of English language proficiency.

What does your study involve? Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)

Studying medicine as a postgraduate degree includes medical sciences, clinical skills, population health, and professional and leadership. For the first two years, the curriculum is built around problem based learning (PBL) tutorials. This encourages creative and analytical thinking and reinforces the material learned in lectures. There is a weekly clinical day at a local hospital.   

Pros and cons

Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.

The four-year MD enables people to enter the field of medicine. However, becoming a doctor involves many further steps: a one-year internship including rotations in medicine, surgery, and emergency medicine; residency for one or many years before enrolling in a specialty program; finally, specialty training. Some go on to a fellowship in a sub-specialty area or research, often overseas. Having taken all these steps, you come out as a GP, physician, surgeon, or other specialist.

What do you love the most about your course?

My favourite aspect of my course is its commitment to service. One way this is manifested is through the theme of professionalism and leadership integrated through all four years. Another way is the opportunities to spend weeks or even an entire year at a rural location, where medical resources and practitioners are few.

What are the limitations of your course?

As with most programs in medicine, there is a tremendous amount of material to be learned and so the pace is very fast. If one doesn't review regularly and really understand the new material presented, it becomes more and more difficult to catch up later as materials pile up exponentially and much of the material is interconnected. But this is a challenge for all medical students and not a limitation of my course specifically.

A word to the wise…

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life

  1. Develop good study habits and figure out how you learn best.
  2. Establish a good sleep hygeine.
  3. Find a physical activity or sport that you can enjoy for life.