Getting students to engage and reaach out to non-local people in the community is one way for students to also engage internationally, as this health screening and intervention project with Chin refugees shows.
Taylors University School of Medicine students with Chin Refugee
Not all students can afford the time or money to head overseas, and the focus of Interationalisation-at-Home (IaH) initiatives is on how to better engage with foreigners – such as migrants, refugees and international students – who are living in a student’s local community. Students in the third-year of the Taylor's University School of Medicine (SOM) recently reached out to those in the community who do not have access to the public healthcare system, and as part of this initiative conducted a series of health screenings and health interventions for the Chin Student Organisation (CSO).
Ethnic Chin refugees have come to Malaysia from Myanmar, and given their status have limited access to health advice and facilities. The students engaged with the refugees, offering both a health screening and a series of health interventions. The health screening included a series of cardiovascular test to assess risk factors for the Chin parents, and also a series of mental health issues and malnutrition for the Chin children.
The health intervention activities then addressed some of the findings from health screening, and promoted health awareness for the students. The health intervention managed to address that all 27 children learned healthier food intake through able to identify sweets and dessert are unhealthy to the health. All 27-children were de-wormed by distributing chewable tablets provided by the School of Medicine students. One of the medical students said that "It was a humbling experience, and I have a better understanding of the refugee community and their problems. I am now very empathetic toward their daily struggles, and I wish to continue helping the underprivileged population like this in future".
This is one of many such community engagements conducted by Taylor’s, and students from the School of Medicine have previously engaged with refugees during their postings in psychiatry. The interpersonal experiences of working with people in the Chin community, not only sharpened the student’s soft skills, but also made an impact on those who were in need of their medical skills and knowledge. This community engagement was co-ordinated by Taylor's Community, which is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of the Taylor’s Education Group (TEG). - (Global Matters 2018)