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To be a great doctor, you need to be an exceptional communicator who can convey complex messages clearly to your patients and colleagues. Thus, it is essential for doctors to be extraordinarily adept at languages, especially English. This is not to say that native languages such as Malay, Mandarin, or Tamil should be neglected. However, English fluency occupies a uniquely crucial space in the medical field for several vital reasons.

Other than the national language of Malay, English is the most commonly used language between all races, ethnicities, and cultures in Malaysia. Typically, hospitals and clinics in the country use a mixture of the two languages in their communication with patients. Hence, it is critical that medical professionals are proficient in their use of English. After all, in the medical field, even the smallest miscommunication can be potentially devastating. With lives at stake, words need to have pinpoint precision. Doctors need to be silver-tongued and empathetic individuals to give patients a comprehensive understanding of their medical situations.

English is also undoubtedly the current lingua franca of the world. It is the language most widely spoken and written across the globe, and even on the internet. By being proficient in English, medical professionals can connect and collaborate with practitioners and researchers globally, present at international conferences, and even practise elsewhere in the world. In fact, as Malaysia gradually increases its status as a medical tourism hotspot, communicating expertly in English is imperative in dealing with an international clientele. Additionally, a large majority of the world’s medical and scientific literature or journals is written in the English language. Mastery of English is, therefore, critical for healthcare professionals to decipher the byzantine scientific text and keep abreast of the latest medical news and advances.

What better way to develop exceptional English language skills than in the international branch campus of a prestigious world-class UK medical institution? Drawing on the legacy of Newcastle University in the UK, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) offers undergraduate degrees in Medicine (MBBS) and Biomedical Sciences (BSc) which are identical to the medical programme taught in the UK and lead to the awarding of the same UK degree.

Beginning with its Foundation programme, NUMed educates students to be verbal and writing experts of UK English. The English for Academic Purposes module enhances students’ use and understanding of spoken English in academic and social contexts, writing techniques for academic study, and reading of challenging academic texts. Moreover, NUMed students also have the opportunity to increase their English-speaking abilities with frequent interactions with the numerous professors and staff who come from the UK, in addition to multiple presentations and discussions. Nevertheless, beyond just English fluency, NUMed also prides itself in training highly communicative and empathetic medical professionals.

“What impresses me the most about NUMed’s curriculum is the incorporation of communication skills in clinical skills. NUMed nurtures students by providing a platform through hospital visitations and community-based learning for the development of these skills,” attested MBBS student Dawn Celine Poh.

NUMed students also have the invaluable opportunity of immersing themselves in English culture and honing their English fluency even further by studying in Newcastle University, UK. NUMed’s MBBS students can opt to study their elective subjects in the UK up to 8 weeks in their fourth year, while its Biomedical Sciences students spend their last year engaged in an intensive research project there.

By joining NUMed, students will not just become maestros of the English language and adept communicators, they will also be intelligent critical thinkers, innovative problem solvers, and extraordinary medical professionals of the future. To find out more about NUMed’s programmes, excellent facilities, and student life, visit www.newcastle.edu.my.

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