The event consisted of two sessions. Following the opening remarks by both Deans of the School of Medicine at each university, in Session 1, Dr. Nonglak Kanitsap, Associate Dean of the School of Medicine at Thammasat University (henceforth TU), gave a mini lecture on how TU dealt with all of the sudden, yet necessary changes caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a very informative lecture, and about 44 students and faculty members from both YCU and TU were listening to her talk.
For Session 2, 5 TU students and 5 YCU students were divided into two breakout sessions and enjoyed their group work. The theme was “Difference in student life before and after the outbreak of COVID-19”. Although time was limited, students actively exchanged their opinions, and at the end of Session 2, they gave a 5-minute presentation to the other group about the differences and similarities between their respective medical schools’ reactions to the pandemic.
YCU has been putting emphasis on globalization, and based on good relationships with our partner institutions, the number of students who try study abroad programs increased rapidly these past few years. Our most popular program, the International Clinical Clerkship program, has proven to be very challenging to convert into an online format. This trial with Thammasat is indeed not a perfect alternative to clinical clerkship, but it contributed to maintaining the relationship and cultivating our students’ abilities to discuss and communicate in an international setting.
Considering travel restrictions will continue for a while until we resume the exchange as we used to enjoy in previous years, the YCU School of Medicine will keep trying to find a way to provide our students with international exchange opportunities.
TU and YCU has collaboration for at least two years. We have put in tremendous effort in maintaining good relationships and emphasis on globalization. We have many students joining study-abroad programs in these past few years. YCU initiated the first online international activity during the pandemic and amidst travel restrictions. The online international activities are very challenging, but bring good opportunity to maintain the relationship and cultivating our students’ abilities in an international setting during this difficult period.
TU would be happy to accept the new normal for international activities until the international exchange and travelling resumes, which we expect to be not far in the future. Until then, YCU-TU online international program will continue making efforts to prepare for our future collaborations.