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Making the most of your summer holidays


For many, summer break is a time to relax and unwind. However, there are others who prefer to use their summer breaks to increase their level of employability and at the same time, learn a new skill or two.

Take Lee Yee Ji, a Year 2 MPharm student, for example, she took up a placement under the University of Nottingham Malaysia’s Dr Lim Kuan Hon in June and July last year. Yee Ji says that the time she spent during his placement was invaluable.

“I got to use so many equipment that I had never seen before. I made plenty of mistakes too and I have learned from them and grown as a pharmaceutical student. Experiences like these cannot be gained in class.”

Teng Yong Wen, a year 3 M Pharm student, who completed her summer placement at Barts Health NHS Trust, says that during her four-week placement, she had the opportunity to shadow pharmacists in different wards and observe how they worked within a multidisciplinary team.

“I learned about the importance of task prioritising and time management. In the afternoons, I worked at the inpatient pharmacy as a dispenser.”

She adds that the opportunity allowed her to have a better grasp on the dispensing process and to understand the significance of effective communication within the dispensary team. Choong Chee Wai, a Year 3 MPhram student, says his summer placement with Dr Lim, who works on natural product chemistry, allowed him to experience many things that he would not have come across during his theoretical course.

“I got to collect and screen plants, and also carried out a large-scale extraction from promising samples. In addition to being plenty of fun, this experience also helped me greatly in my Year 3 dissertation.”

Goh Pei Min, a Year 3 PHS student, concurs, “The laboratory skills and techniques I learned helped me greatly in my final-year research project. I also had to go on field trips to collect plants as material and during this time, I learned the techniques to search for plants that contain the chemical compound of our interest.

She adds that her summer internship not only enhance her scientific knowledge but also gave her the opportunity to expand her social circle.

Lim Zhi Hui, a Year 1 PHS student, took up a summer placement at GSK Consumer Healthcare as a brand marketing administrative support staff. Her role included reviewing advertisement visuals and organising product launches, among other things.

“The field of work was vastly different from the science path that I have chosen. Nonetheless, my science knowledge helped me to better understand the product-related projects I was tasked at handling. In addition, liaising with people from various departments as well as external vendors helped improve my communication skills tremendously.”

These five students are testaments that summer placements can be very enriching experiences, even if just for a short period of time.

“Summer placements are something I would recommend, so go ahead and bug your lecturers about their research! At the time of writing, I had just finished my fifth week of my summer research project here in the UK Campus! Exciting stuff!” says Chee Wai.

According to Dr Lim: I very much look forward to summer every year when I will be working alongside a bunch of awesome undergraduate placement students, who are very keen to learn and experience actual research activities.


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The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

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Posted on 11th February 2019

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