Diving into Kiwi culture as a medical student
Sook Yee Yong didn’t know anyone in New Zealand when she arrived here to study for her medical degree, but it didn’t take long to feel at home.
“From the moment I got here, everyone was lovely and the country was beautiful. I loved it from the start,” says Sook Yee.
“Every Kiwi I met during my medical student years was awesome and very accepting and friendly. They would include me in their social events.
I dived straight into Kiwi culture.
Sook Yee studied at Malaysia’s International Medical University, which provided a programme that enabled students to continue the clinical years of a medical degree in New Zealand. She arrived in 2006 and spent three years studying at the University of Otago, Christchurch.
“Christchurch is an excellent school. We had a good balance of lectures and clinical work,” she says.
Sook Yee says the school gave medical students wide exposure to different specialities, so they could make informed choices about which field to go into.
New Zealand’s work/life balance was another attraction for Sook Yee.
“In Malaysia there is a lot of peer pressure to spend the majority of your time studying and not have a social life. In New Zealand, they have a really good balance of work, life and fun. Everyone works hard during classes and for exams but outside of that, they have a life. They would organise weekends away for outdoor activities and enjoy the vast surrounding nature.
Everyone works hard during classes and for exams but outside of that, they have a life.
“That is one of the biggest and most beautiful things about New Zealand for me.”
Sook Yee decided to stay in New Zealand after graduating in 2009. She is now working as a radiology registrar at Wellington Hospital and is married to a Kiwi.
About the contributors
Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student.