TERM 2 REVIEW 2019-20
SHREWSBURY MEDICS SET NEW RECORD
Shrewsbury International School Bangkok Riverside is delighted to announce that no fewer than thirteen graduating students have secured places on some of the world’s most highly regarded medical programmes both in Thailand and abroad.
The profession attracts some of the most academically gifted and dedicated students, and whilst demand for high-calibre candidates is strong, competition for places is fierce. However, with more than 1 in 10 of Shrewsbury’s graduating Class of 2020 now set to embark on their medical studies later this year, supporting pathways into the profession has become a standout feature of Shrewsbury’s award-winning Higher Education offering.
In Thailand, four students earn places at The Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, three at Thammasat University - Chulabhorn, International College of Medicine, and two at The Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University.
Further afield, four students will be doing all, or a part of their studies away from Bangkok, at Chiang Mai University, on joint medical programmes at both Princess Chulabhorn College of Medical Science / University College, London, and Srinakharinwirot University/ University of Nottingham, whilst Earnie Tachatirakul earns his place at The School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin. In so doing, he follows his older brother Earth (Shrewsbury Class of 2017, University of Cambridge) into the medical field.
For those applying to medical school, putting together a portfolio of work and sitting the BMAT exam is only part of the process. Shortlisted applicants whose credentials stand out sufficiently on paper are then invited to face a four-hour interview process designed to challenge, confront and at times confuse; a crucial test of how these prospective doctors are able to fare in demanding, pressurised situations.
However, when it comes to both their applications and interview skills, Shrewsbury’s HE team, specifically Director of Higher education, Ms Joanne Fretwell and Thai university specialist, Mr Stuart Markes, ensure that Shrewsbury students receive the best possible advice and preparation.
“Shrewsbury has a carefully structured support programme in place, and all students have access to Higher Education advice as early as Key Stage 3”, explains Ms Fretwell. “We ask them to start thinking carefully about their interests and strengths at an early stage, and begin to equip them with information they will need when it comes to choosing GCSE combinations in Year 10, and A levels in Year 12 that will support specific career choices – an important consideration for specialised vocational programmes such as medicine. It’s a process that allows us to get to know our students really well, and together achieve our ultimate aim; to ensure that all of our students are able to make Higher Education choices that a right for them”
When it comes to medicine, a crucial element in Shrewsbury’s ongoing success is the direct access it is able provide students to front line medical practitioners, and those working in medical academia.
As Mr Markes notes, “We are particularly lucky to be able to draw on the expertise, guidance and support of our own parent community in this respect. Regular seminar sessions, many run by our own parents, give students access to real-life case studies, and help students to think carefully around demanding topics such as medical ethics. Opportunities like this help to nurture broad and balanced perspectives, which are important to demonstrate in both application and interview”.
Above: Dr Julie, a Year 10 Parent, has been running valuable workshops with prospective medics
When it comes to the university interview itself, Shrewsbury gives students a range of opportunities to test and hone their skills prior to the real thing, including exposing them to a range of mock interviews and role-play situations that test their interview technique, bed-side manner and empathy towards their patients.
“Importantly”, Mr Markes continues, “this process ultimately leads some students to consider alternative paths, and this is right; the medical profession is demanding and requires both commitment and specific aptitude in a range of skills, not just academic . But for many of our students these opportunities serve to affirm their vocation, and provide real confidence going into the application process.
For many students, the service-oriented co-curricular opportunities provided through Shrewsbury’s relationship with medical charities are also vitally important and affirming experiences.
For Chulalongkorn-bound Ken, his desire to be a doctor was confirmed late last year on a trip to Mae Sot, Northern Thailand where he took part in one of Operation Smile’s ‘medical missions’.
“Seeing these doctors, who generally work in private hospitals, give their time and expertise free of charge reminded me of how important healthcare is and what a privileged position I am in to be able to serve my community. I really want to give something back to the Thai people”, Ken says enthusiastically.
Above: The Operation Smile team in Mae Sot
“We were literally able to watch operations and ask questions of the doctors afterwards. This opportunity was one I will never forget, and I’m really grateful to both Shrewsbury and Operation Smile for helping to make this happen”.
Meanwhile, Prae, now heading to the Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, reflects on last year’s visit to Cambodia with the Action for Diabetes (A4D) charity.
“The chance to meet so many like-minded people of my age-group from so many different schools was amazing. We really got to work helping the patients; we weren’t just bystanders. It gave me great insight into the future [in medicine], and I am thankful to the school for facilitating my involvement”.
Above: The A4D club in Cambodia where they helped provide vital help and supplies to diabetics
Prae will be joined at Ramathibodi by Melanie, who transferred to Shrewsbury at the start of the A level programme with the specific goal of securing a place at medical school. “It is well-known that the A Level curriculum is more focused than the wide-ranging IB curriculum. For certain courses such as medicine, this is helpful as it shows a commitment to a certain area of study, specifically the sciences”, says Melanie. And despite living outside Bangkok, for Melanie the two-hour round trip each day it has been worth it.
In taking this step, Melanie feels that the decision has been vindicated, and that at Shrewsbury she’s benefitted far beyond achieving her academic goals. She has joined a school where there is a true spirit of collaboration, and where like-minded students help to support each other through the rigours of their academic studies.
“All of the students here look out for each other. The medical students have set up their own LINE group, and we encourage each other and work collaboratively. I feel like I am a part of a team. I know the other students feel the same way”, enthused former House Captain and aspiring neurologist, Deva.
Ken concludes, “I know I can speak for many of my peers when I say we feel like we are capable of anything at Shrewsbury. You see it from the students who go to Cambridge or Stanford, and you see it in the 13 of us who are about to become doctors. It is a pretty good feeling”, he says, beaming.
Principal Mr Chris Seal is elated with their achievements stating that these students continue a legacy of high performance for which Shrewsbury is well-known.
“The accomplishments of these exceptional 13 students is a testament to the high-quality learning environment that our teachers create at Shrewsbury. With that said, students have to earn it, and these young men and women have certainly done that. We are immensely proud of their success so far and look forward to seeing what the future holds for them, further down the track”.
Congratulations to all of Shrewsbury’s successful medical applicants for 2020:
Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University: Keodeo (Deva) Lokitiyakul, Winrada (Mint) Khomate, Melanie Utharntharm, Praeploy (Prae) Tangtrongsakdi
Thammasat University- Chulabhorn, International College of Medicine: Supapitch (Prae) Subenja, Korrawan (Haiyee) Chatkitcharoen, Peerapatre (Hugo) Paoprapun
The Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University: Boonyavee (Prin) Wongwisetsuk, Jirayu (Ken) Hanpiyavatanasakul
Chiang Mai University: Benya (Benny) Charumilind
Princess Chulabhorn College of Medical Science / University College, London joint medical programme: Winnada (Mild) Khomate
Srinakharinwirot University/ University of Nottingham joint medical programme: Praewa (Mind) Wongsriyanon
The School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin: Tuchaset (Earnie) Tachatirakul