I had a very enjoyable experience in Hokkaido University. Among many good points about this elective, best aspect for me was the hospitality and friendliness shown by the staff and students.
I started with two weeks of Respiratory medicine, specifically in the non－lung CA team that handles ILDs, Pulmonary Hypertension and Cardiac Sarcoidosis. Dr.Ohira arranged an excellent schedule that encompassed clinical teaching, research talks, pulmonary function testing, treadmill tests, clinics, ward rounds and other facets of practice in Japan.Together with other doctors e.g. Dr.Houman, Dr.Tsujino helping to translate, I never felt very out of place.
With regards to clinical knowledge, being able to see rare cases like sarcoidosis was helpful too.
The nephrology team was likewise very welcoming, with less of fixed schedule. I was thus able to spend more time with the medical students and learn more about life as a medical student in Japan.They were also helpful in translating and explaining cases and modalities of treatment for their patients.
Beyond hospital life, there was ample opportunity to travel on weekends. We had a two－night trip to Lake Toya, day trips to Otaru, Yoichi and Moerenuma Park, and of course the neighborhood Shiroi Koibito factory and Sapporo Beer Factory. In addition, our duration of stay covered two amazing festivals；the Hokkaido University Festival, and the Sapporo Ramen Show.I have no regrets on choosing Hokkaido University for my final elective, and would gladly do so again!
My experience at Hokkaido University was undoubtedly enjoyable and unforgettable. First I would appreciate the effort that doctors put into making time to talk to me despite even having many other commitments in the wards. It was through this that I managed to gain exposure to many new areas and add on to my clinical knowledge. I was able to be exposed to the diseases through radiological findings and findings on physical examination for conditions that I had been less exposed to in Singapore, including lung cancer, cardiac catheterization, pulmonary hypertension and various renal conditions. Tutorials were really informative, including those given by Dr.Ohira on pulmonary hypertension, cardia catheterization, and Dr.Kawashima on renal biopsies and dialysis.
Another valuable exposure for me is research. Through various teachings by Dr.Houman, I managed to have a good overview of what is going on in the research field. I could have experience of handing on the various devices and doing tests while having a tutorial on it at the same time.
In terms of day-to-day ward work, interacting with both doctors and medical students was fun and gave me theoretical and clinical knowledge. Moreover, through these conversations I managed to understand a lot more about the medical system in Japan, make new friends, and get recommendations for everything from food to places to visit. We were also quite fortunate that we managed to catch the annual Hokkaido University festival which was very enjoyable.
All in all, I just want to thank the university and all the staff who have worked hard and made this elective a fun and enjoyable one.
A picture taken at the Prof. Nishimura's office.
Joshua is the first person from the left. Quek is the first person from the right.
A picture taken at the Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium before the farewell dinner for Joshua and Quek.